There's been plenty of debate as to whether the cloud is a safe and reliable place for insurers to house mission-critical applications and systems. This is a valid concern, but perhaps the most immediate advantage cloud offers is serving as a test bed for applications and processes, without disrupting daily operations.
Gary Kirkham, principal at Pegasystems, sees this potential, and says cloud offers incredible advantages for companies wrestling with business process management (BPM) issues.
Kirkham says he has been working with a global, multi-product insurance company on deploying the cloud to support a major streamlining initiative for the company's claims processing area.
“In short order,” he recounts, “the organization was able to set up an environment very quickly on the cloud, move its applications to it, and run parallel performance tests.” The performance tests, he says, showed that performance issues in the claims processing department were arising from the systems infrastructure, and not the application. Not only that, the company was able to set up its new environment in fairly rapid order, versus the weeks or months these efforts usually take.
“When paired together, cloud computing and BPM permit the business to identify, model and automate ailing business processes that are most critical to its mission and rejuvenate them first,” Kirkham says. He says the door is now open for insurers to use the cloud “to bring up a new strategic process or repair a business process that is broken.”
Whether the cloud is hosted by a third party, or within the firewalls of the company itself, it offers new ways to test and ensure that systems and processes are well-integrated and functioning well for the business.
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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