Not surprisingly, the road to effective sourcing begins with upper management support. This support might lead to establishing a "sourcing strategist" internally to determine what business processes should be farmed out or kept in-house.For instance, it would not behoove a property/casualty carrier to outsource its underwriting function, says Bill Pieroni, general manager, global insurance, at White Plains, N.Y-based IBM Global Solutions. "If you're good at something, you should keep it in-house," he says.
One approach carriers can take in determining a sourcing blueprint is to "step back, take a look at long-term goals and ask the question: 'Can someone do this better than we're doing it?'" says Rick Enright, marketing director for CIMR, a subsidiary of Columbia, S.C.-based BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. The Blues plan offers a complete outsourcing solution for healthcare systems featuring full back-office support services for payers and health plans that's marketed as cimrONE.
CimrONE is available in a full back-office administration model, with CIMR staff performing all functions from the corporate offices in Columbia. It can also be accessed as an outsourcing model in which a client's staff performs some or all of the functions.
"Carriers need to have alignment and commitment at the executive level. They need to determine what business process is core and what isn't core," notes Enright. "Some companies get tripped up and make decisions emotionally about outsourcing. They need to make these decisions with an emphasis on strategic and not tactical goals. They have to ask themselves if they really want to own people and manage a particular business."
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