Other parts of this series:
Migrating legacy technology systems is a complex task—one that can be particularly challenging for insurers in an environment of increasing regulatory requirements and burgeoning customer expectations. That’s why we’ve developed a series of “decision trees” to support insurers considering large legacy decommissioning programs. These decision trees enable us and our insurance clients to get a clearer picture of a potential migration and to put a carefully thought-out migration roadmap into place before the migration and decommissioning begins.
Our decision tree process works in two phases:
- We assess each legacy platform to establish key characteristics and to pattern match to one of our off-the-shelf migration patterns. This drives clarity on big ticket rationalization items and helps insurers identify edge cases where a migration business case might fall down.
- We carry out further analysis to refine each platform estimate, with deep dives into the nuances of the legacy data and platforms in question. Drawing on our Accenture Insurance Data Migration Factory (IDMF) experience, we have pinpointed the core criteria that lead to changes in overall migration complexity.
This process—combined with client discussions about specific challenges and needs that may be unique to either the platforms themselves or the overall business context—enable us to help insurers develop a comprehensive and tailored rationalization program plan.
Intelligent archiving using Accenture’s migration components
To complement this process, we’ve also developed some unique assets for the P&C insurance domain. An intelligent archiving solution, our migration components are specifically designed to address the challenges of long-tail specialty insurance, with storage of contracts and other business records in a fully configurable environment. Insurers can use the solution to preserve the look and feel of legacy data in a modern, search engine-driven web application.
Key benefits of our migration components include:
- All relevant business data can be migrated into the intelligent archive, ensuring compliance objectives are met.
- Contextual data can be segregated from core transactional processing data.
- A powerful enterprise search capability improves business user access to legacy data and smooths the legacy decommissioning journey by providing a single location for finding data.
- Strategic line-of-business platforms don’t need to be polluted with large volumes of legacy data requiring infrequent access or transactional processing.
- A flexible deployment approach with a cloud-based or on-site solution.
Safely decommissioning legacy applications
After the migration is complete, it’s time to retire the legacy systems—something that’s generally not as simple as “throwing them in the dumpster.” For most legacy applications, a series of steps must be taken to safely decommission them.
Our delivery method for decommissioning provides a playbook for upfront due diligence, as well as development of the decommissioning activity plan and monitoring the plan to completion. This minimizes the risk of unintended consequences once decommissioning is completed. We embed this into legacy transformation programs and can supply dedicated practitioners to oversee decommissioning activities in a controlled manner.
Insurers might need to overcome specific technical challenges along the way, including:
- The legacy platform may contain representations of policy or claims documentation that are not easily portable—perhaps they’re dynamically retrieved and displayed using custom application screens in the legacy solution. To decommission the platform, insurers might need tools to extract these records and convert them into a more ubiquitous format. Accenture’s Legacy Document Generation Utility provides precisely this capability, allowing embedded records to be converted to PDF, which can be stored in a modern file system structure or in an off-the-shelf document management system. Migration components could be used in this scenario to search for the re-generated data records or even to host them.
- Super user and ad hoc legacy platform capabilities. Many legacy systems contain solutions allowing system administrators or key business users to generate ad hoc reports. Over time, these reports may become embedded in core policy administration or claims-handling processes. Working with Accenture, insurers can isolate these use cases and develop appropriate decommissioning responses. Techniques range from building dedicated data marts (to mimic legacy application capabilities) to re-engineering business processes that depend on legacy artefacts.
- Cataloging and managing the application’s data footprint. Instead of residing in a single location, data may well be dispersed across the enterprise estate. The logical decommissioning of an application may therefore require activities to be executed against a number of physical systems. It might, for example, be expedient to maintain excerpts or copies of key legacy system reference data such as legacy business categorization structures or rating factors used in underwriting.
Insurers should also consider that it may also be necessary to reverse the decommissioning. For example, access to the data may be needed to meet e-discovery requests or audit requirements. Providing a mechanism to prove the ability to restore and access legacy data stores can be problematic if dedicated hardware or the application platform underpinning a legacy application is part of the decommissioning objective. In this case, an emulation strategy may be required—one that allows application data to be restored to a pre-conceived appliance for certain business scenarios.
We expect the legacy technology trap to be a prevalent and persistent feature of the insurance landscape for the foreseeable future. But it’s a challenge that insurers can overcome. With the right level of focus in the organization, and careful selection of the best tools and techniques for managing the journey, insurers can remove the pain-points of legacy technology and discover new-found business agility.
To learn more, register to download Overcoming the Legacy Technology Trap.