Chicago — While retailers love to tout elimination of the “middleman,” no such action is feasible or desirable for insurance companies looking to reconcile their business and information technology teams. Indeed, a new report from Boston-based Celent says insurer should instead focus on ways to leverage their business analysts whose work is performed on the ground between the business and IT groups.

“In order to deliver sustainable, significant change at the execution level, the business analyst job function requires attention and investment,” the report, authored by Celent Senior Analyst Mike Fitzgerald, states.

Yet, the report stresses that for many companies the development of business analysts is rather ad hoc, especially compared to way other positions are developed.

“In many cases, the job lacks clear definition and boundaries,” it states. “Skills are often learned “as and when” through individual effort and initiative. Business analyst development has been described as an ‘afterthought.’ In contrast to the underwriting (CLU, CPCU, IIA), claims (AIC), and project management (PMP) designations, there is no industry-wide accepted certification of business analysts.”

The report profiles two insurers, Hartford, Conn.-based The Hartford and Springfield, Mass.-based Mass Mutual, which have taken strides to delineate a position and career path for their business analysts. The report recommends that insurers interested in improved delivery of transformation initiatives invest in the following: 1) identifying a senior leader to champion the effort of analyst development, 2) establishing a certification program for analysts, 3) paying for registration and exam fees for employees pursuing certification, 4) implementing a bonus award recognition for employees who complete certification, 5) committing to a goal for employee certification, and 6) creating a professional career path for business analysts.

Companies that follow these suggestions will be better situated to transform the operations, the report contends.

“Transforming an enterprise involves identifying, facilitating, documenting and communicating new business processes,” Fitzgerald notes. “The people responsible for these critical activities in most insurance companies are the business analysts. By improving their skills, companies are increasing the quality and quantity of successful project implementations.”

Source: Celent

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