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Aim of Nolan/Novarica Alliance: Improve IT Investment ROI

Former Novarica analyst Chad Hersh joins The Nolan Company to lead an effort to help insurers gain value from their systems transformation efforts.

Understanding the IT Landscape

In his previous analyst role, Hersh's ability to help insurers in this area was limited, he acknowledges. "In my new role, I'm able to help CIOs understand the planning for the broader landscape of what these changes mean, certainly before they finish implementing solution," he says. "I've seen that a lot of companies don't get the ROI they want or don't measure it because they are not planning for that -- they are planning to replace a system." Hersh's goal is to enable The Nolan Company to bring that kind of value to an insurer's C-level executives.

Another reason why it's often hard for carriers to identify and realize ROI on systems investments has to do with how technology companies approach the market, Hersh says. "There's a trend now toward a lot of the software vendors just wanting to be software vendors. They don't want to be implementation vendors, they want to offer software that fixes a platform issue" and also enables the addition of necessary processes.

At the same time, according to Hersh, there's been an evolution in what vendors offer. Ten to 15 years ago, "vendors provided more frameworks -- it was about providing the basics and the carrier builds out rest," he recalls. Then, from the mid-2000s until a few years ago, the trend was "who could get the most functionality -- it was all about the most functional solutions, either niche or through end-to-end suites." Today, Hersh says, "We're starting to see almost a realization among vendors that every carrier is different enough that, at a minimum, they have to do fair amount of configuration around what the processes should be in the new system to get up and running."

Because not all companies have a vision of what those processes should be, they'll adopt a system's "default or template approach – and some have been more thorough, and some less thorough, in that area, " Hersh says. That's where he think's Nolan, with its new capabilities, can play a role. "The notion of having deep expertise to help you create the processes, as part of the vendor selection process, is not a novel concept, but it's an important one," he adds.

Apart from the addition of Hersh, the consultant's insurance practice structure remains the same, according to Travers. Steve Callahan will continue as practice director, with a focus on (but not limited to) the life industry. Mike Bondura is P&C Practice Director. Gerald Shields continues as IT Practice Director with a focus on IT management, infrastructure, and IT effectiveness. "Chad's role spans our entire insurance practice and he will collaborate with Steve, Gerald, Mike and others on our team with his focus on helping carriers achieve the business impact they expect from their investments in technology replacements and upgrades -- and driving a more productive partnership between business and IT," Travers says.


Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio

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