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Solution Providers Abandoned the IKEA Approach

Have you shopped much at IKEA? The prices are great and the furniture looks good in a practical sort of way. The bigger challenge, at least for guys like me, is what happens when you get it home and have to assemble it? Is it as frustrating for you as it was for me?

For years, businesses felt the same way about the software they were purchasing from vendor solution providers. The sales pitch was great, the price was right, so here’s your product. Now install it with these easy directions.

Lessons were learned from this antiquated process. Expensive lessons. The most compatible software package in the universe isn’t worth squat if it’s not implemented correctly.

There was enough fault to go around so that fingers didn’t need to be pointed—although finger pointing usually is the default mode when something goes wrong. Fortunately, vendors and carriers did something about it.

That’s the way it should be if vendors and carriers—once viewed as the dogs and cats of the process—are to become true business partners. Solution providers understand their reputation is on the line until a carrier successfully goes live with the project. Carriers understand that they know their business better than the solution providers, so they need to take charge of the process if these million-dollar investments are to pay off.

This is where project management fits in. At one time, only large insurers had project management offices, but that has changed as the midtier took on more expensive projects. It is understandably more difficult for the midtier to dedicate resources to a PMO, but as technology evolves, insurers usually find there is more than one solution needed and upgrades come at a regular pace.

Today’s projects are too big and too important to fail. While most observers agree the solutions themselves have matured, the implementation process can be long and arduous, with possible missteps at every turn.

Finding the right people to get the job done, whether they come from inside the insurance organization or in the form of consultants, has become the key first step to implementation.

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