Prior to the amalgamation, iCARE did not have in-house IT platforms. Instead, the insurer relied on relationships with resellers and partners, using outsourced services but keeping all data stored in-house. In 2015, after an evaluation process that identified areas that would benefit from business process improvements, the organisation moved to implement Guidewire, which allowed them to take ownership of their data and technology.
“There were certain economies of scale and benefits to that process, rather than using other people’s insurance platforms to sell our product,” said Richard Burgman, Data Manager at iCARE.
When the bid went to tender, Guidewire was selected as the platform of choice, but made it very clear at the time that, while the software did have certain Document Management Solution (DMS) capabilities, it was not intended for use as a sole DMS solution.
“Before this project was completed, one of iCARE’s schemes, the Home Building Compensation Fund (HBCF), had their CIMS (ClaimCenter, PolicyCenter, BillingCenter) and BEAT documents stored in their respective source systems, which were not meant for Document Storage and Retrieval. This resulted in bloating up the database. It also hampered the performance timings for storage, retrieval and backups,” states Mustansar Mumtaz, Program Portfolio Manager at iCARE during this time.
iCARE deployed the Guidewire suite of products, using the solution successfully for several years. However, with the processing of policies and claims, there is the inevitable supporting documentation to consider. Each time someone bought a policy or made a claim, supporting files and documents needed to be attached. As the organisation evolved, it became apparent that there was a lack of cohesion between the transaction of policies and claims, and the attendant paperwork.
“We were seeing performance problems occasionally kicking in. Certainly, we were using a lot of space in our servers that were optimised to run a transaction system, rather than a document management system, and Guidewire advised us that we were in uncharted territory given the amount of documents we were storing within their system. They didn't recommend that approach as a permanent solution,” said Burgman.
The OnBase solution
iCARE needed to find a solution that could be managed by a relatively small, very busy team of IT professionals, and one that could be deployed in a way that would cause as little disruption to existing workplace practices as possible.
At this point, Guidewire strongly recommended that we consider OnBase. We had quite a large document repository by this stage, and our implementation partners and system integrators had experience with OnBase. We found that there were a number of accelerators available that really set us on the journey,” said Richard Burgman.
iCARE moved to deploy OnBase as a matter of urgency, with the roll-out period to move from signed contract to full implementation within three months. It was critical that documents were extracted from iCARE’s transaction system quickly and efficiently, without any loss or compromised data. The organisation required a very fast and clearly defined scope of work for the project, and one that allowed visibility into the data transfer.
“We were very wary of breaking our transaction systems at some unknown point, so the absolute priority was getting the documents out of one system and into OnBase effectively,” said Burgman.
There were a number of complexities around the project, in particular the number of stakeholders involved and the time-consuming configuration of source system infrastructures. iCARE runs a small IT team of 10 people, and a large federated supply and service network. The project involved experts from Hyland, as well as Cap Gemini making changes to the Guidewire platform. This was complemented by stakeholders from Deloitte, an external networking team, experts from Amazon and local company Lodestone, as well as five other significant stakeholders.
Daily scrums helped keep the critical path intact, maintaining iCARE’s agile methodology and keeping lines of communication open between the parties involved. Business users were made available for queries and clarification as the project progressed, and regular status reports kept all stakeholders up-to-date and minimised risk.
“Business users were notified well in advance of any involvement that required their time, as well as the depth of that involvement. This helped them reserve time for that required activity, and made sure we had calculated and then achieved the desired outcome. That way, business users didn't feel their time was wasted. They could mock up forms and contribute to the project. This was really important in the scheme of the OnBase deployment,” said Burgman.
Aside from the diversity within the project group, the disparate parts of iCARE’s core business also added to the task. Three different transaction systems operate on separate platforms, working at two different data centres which must then transfer documents in near real-time to the OnBase data centre, via Amazon S3 Bucket.
“The most important part from my end-users’ perspective, is that there is no discernible difference. What they did before and what they did after the deployment was exactly the same, and it was at least as fast as it was before. This was very, very important,” said Burgman.
While the complex design of the deployment was challenging, iCARE did not lose any documents during the roll-out. Historically data load went ahead, was loaded, and has been running well.
“While a few problems have cropped up and the various support teams have kicked in and taken a look, ninety-nine percent of the time it works perfectly. I am happy to say that with Hyland and the other vendors, they just roll up their sleeves and get on with the job of diagnosing where the fault is in the solution and getting it fixed. There is no finger pointing or blame shifting. At the end of the day we built this, tested it, and it worked.”
From the point-of-view of the end-users at iCARE, they have been given a faster, more reliable and more robust system to use, and one which has been deployed with an absolute minimum of disruption.
“Our staff have not had to relearn anything, so that was quite valuable,” states Burgman. “Our main goal was that no training would be required, and that users should notice no difference to their work practices.”
Mumtaz continues, stating that: “The benefits for iCARE are many. Ease of document archiving, retrieval and processing to name a few, while the ease of integration with other systems which HBCF has in the pipeline is also of importance. We now have a window of opportunity for an enhancement in business processes like image processing and new templates.”
The deployment included OnBase Viewer, which gives staff members a better user experience when viewing certain documents. Users cite that their access to critical information is now cleaner and tidier than they previously experienced.
iCARE will look to expand the services provided by Hyland’s suite of products, including some of the more advanced document generation capabilities of the software as well as templating, email integrations and the automation functions provided by the recently-acquired Brainware solution.
“We have a vision to go paperless in next two to five years and OnBase is helping us transform that vision,” said Mumtaz.
Breakout quote: “OnBase is an effective system for document management. This project was exemplary on all levels, well done to the team!” Mustanzar Mumtaz.
Hyland products: OnBase by Hyland
Benefits: Better reliability, more robust solution, fewer bottlenecks. Increased document visibility.