Updated: Feb 11
There are a lot of discussions these days about the need to get rid of legacy technology. It's old; it's slow, it can't connect with our other systems; the interfaces are old and ugly, the data is poor, and it doesn't offer the analytics we need... yadda, yadda, yadda... But is that an honest assessment of your current capabilities and capacities? Are there alternative ways to achieve such immediate goals short of trashing the old and incurring a major investment of capital, time, and human resources to address these issues?
Just because something has the word "legacy" doesn't mean it's junk. It means it has worked for years, it is not necessarily without value and potential. That decision requires an assessment of your systems in relation to your workflow requirements. Here's where the line "measure twice, cut once" comes in. An initial evaluation of your system is your most critical and valuable investment in order to effectively respond to both your short-term and long-term requirements and objectives.
We've worked with several claims organizations to layer highly-functional services technologies that integrate various legacy systems to achieve specific client goals. Consider the cost of selecting, purchasing, and implementing a unique design and educating your users on the new system, only to find the new system can't deliver the results you had hoped for any better than the old one.
Consider for a moment... the companies creating new technologies are the same companies that made your current technologies. What are the implications of that fact?
Technology companies will reuse 80% or more of their prior system and incorporate that (legacy code) into the new one. It may be faster (at making mistakes), it have prettier user interfaces (which are nice, but at what expense), and offer some new analytic capabilities. The problem with the analytics is that the new workgroup's data systems may have a different naming and data structure than those adopted by your other workgroups. In that case, you just bought yourself a host of new problems that will cost more money, time, and frustration. And the real hit to the executive team from a poor decision like the above is that your frontline user teams will think you guys don't know what you're doing.
Whatever you technology invest in today will have a shorter lifespan than any of your prior investments. The "quick and dirty"solutions that are poorly thought out often create debts, which become hungry bears to feed going forward.
"Tech debt," also known as technical debt or code debt, suggests that a simplistic, poorly understood, or "quick and dirty" solution to a software development problem (that does not incorporate what your current needs and resources are capable of.. ) comes with substantial, hidden costs that organizations must pay later.
Sometimes, all you really need is a wheel; not the whole cart. Suppliers have learned how to deliver new easy-to-access technologies that appear easy to use and simple to adopt at a reasonable price. But do these new technologies offer a net value that justifies the total investment? Most claims teams need data integration, workflow automation across the value chain, and AI (augmented intelligence) that can deliver intelligent decision support on a just-in-time basis. The difficult issues is that each of these pieces must be designed to work together.
We are living in a world of abundance. Technology has dramatically increased the speed and lowered the cost of market entry for new tech products. Subsequently, it's become a feeding frenzy for software marketers. The result. Many claim organizations end up choosing form over function, style over substance. You find yourself at a massive buffet with little to eat. We believe that even in a world of abundance, waste should not be tolerated.
Executives are facing a world where an ever-increasing number of technologies are coming to the market. They all look different, but they are very similar. Executives are tasking existing user teams (including operational and technical managers) to make purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, these teams are poorly equipped to make qualified to make the decisions they are being asked to make. Because their orientation rests on the same out-of-date procedures they've used for the past 20 years. As we've discussed, those procedures are not working anymore. Subsequently, many key initiatives will fail within 18 months.
Is it possible to find perfection through imperfection? Yes. But, as the executive, need to be selective in your choices.
Interview some vendors. The first questions out of their mouths should be: "Tell me about your workflows." "How do your silos interact with one another?" "Is the data you're getting from your system clean and concise, or is it spread across multiple systems?" "Does your data tell you what you need to know to quickly and effectively manage your company?" "How much of your claim adjuster's time is spent on non-value-producing tasks and routines?" If you hear anything less, you need to question, how well that vendor understand your needs if he doesn't take the time to explore what they are? If such an exploration isn't what launches your meeting, end your meeting immediately. You've got better things to spend your time on. Such vendors will never produce the solution you require.
When vendors present you with solutions before they take the time to understand your business issues and workflows, the odds of them solving your issues are against you. You require a business partner that will genuinely add value to your company and help you leapfrog forward without wasting time, capital, and human resources. You do not need sales hucksters trying to sell you new technologies with fancy new names, whistles, whiz bangs, and flashy interfaces. You need real solutions for your real problems. Period.
We can help you turn down the noise, cut through the crap, and get down to brass tacks. We have years of experience in the claims industry. From the launch of our first SaaS product in 2009, we have offered innovative data and software integration solutions, workflow automation, and intelligent decision support designed to streamline complicated procedures and processes.
Finally the old days of the one-stop shop vendor are no more. Today's market demands are too broad. You need to be able to tailor your tech solutions to uniquely fit your specific requirements. We promise what we know we can deliver with excellence. And, we enjoy partnering with companies that used to be considered competitors. Because, in today's world, our old competitors have become our collaborators necessary to deliver success to our clients.
At Effective Health Systems, we sell solutions... oh, and we got some pretty darn good software too. It's called BaseLine.