Key Ingredients to a Successful Reinsurance System Upgrade or Migration

By Jacqueline Barrett | July 26, 2016

From my last blog, you know that planning a reinsurance system migration is similar to hosting a dinner party. I walked you through the key stages of planning to ensure you have the resources, budget, and stakeholder objectives in place to execute a migration successfully. Now it is time to go through the key ingredients that will make it all come together.

Step 1: Obtain the necessary resources. 

For your dinner party, you need to make sure you have the right pots and pans and recruit any extra help necessary to execute a successful night. Similarly, in your system migration, you need to put together a dedicated project team with the proper skill sets to handle the tasks that will be assigned. Or if you don't have the right resources, you can outsource the migration to experts (like us!) who can ensure the right people, processes, and technologies are put in place to successfully complete the switch.

Step 2: Create your shopping list

When it comes to migrations, the Business Requirements Document (BRD) is like your grocery list. It states what will and will not be included as part of the project. They also define what can be expected from the completed project. Now, remember the tastiest things can sometimes be the ingredients you never considered. 

PRO TIP: In the case of migrations, make sure to consider the management and data analytical reports that will need to be developed or changed. They can often be overlooked due to time constraints but they should be done upfront. They are key tools that management can use to determine business success, identify trends and monitor business performance.

Step 3: Set your meal plan & determine what is missing

When preparing for your system migration you’ll need to determine what the intended functions and operations of the application will be. At this time, you’ll also perform a gap analysis to determine if you are missing any ingredients. This involves an assessment of "where we are" (the present state) and "where we want to be" (the future state) after migration.  Ensure to gather any ingredients (requirements) that will help you close the identified gaps.

PRO TIP: Two key ingredients in any system migration are collaboration and communication. There must be open communication and a willingness to accept input from others, while still thinking independently. This will ensure any system migration is a successful one!!

Step 4: Determine the recipes to use

Figuring out the recipes you will use for each course of your dinner party is similar to establishing a Systems Requirements Specifications (SRS). This is a document that describes how something is supposed to be done and should be very detailed. For example, it should include all of the possible error states and error messages that should be displayed to the user. It should also describe the steps of any functional interaction, and the order in which they should be followed.

Step 5: Set your table

Make sure you have the right glasses for the drinks being served, proper cutlery for each course, and some décor to make the setting look nice. In the reinsurance world, you’ll need to design screen layouts and create process diagrams to ensure everything is meeting the right objectives and specific needs.

Step 6: Taste Test

Before you serve your guests you have to make sure it tastes just right! This is similar to conducting Quality Assurance Testing (QA) and User Acceptance Testing (UAT) for your system migration. The testing phase commences after the development release has been completed.  Normally the application will be QA tested first, which tests all the system functionality in the application.  Once the functionality has been tested, the UAT is performed. UAT often finds issues that are not obvious to QA testers, who may not fully understand the business, application, or its data.

Step 7: The guests are almost here!

Is the house clean? Is your family ready to impress the guests! Does everyone know what to do when they arrive? Is everything ready to serve? When it comes to system migration, collaboration is key because there are several moving pieces.

PRO TIP: Create detailed tasks, with time and ownership for the following items:

    • Prepare the infrastructure
    • Coordinate with project stakeholders
    • Prepare staff for implementation
    • Monitor the implementation

Step 8: Dinner Party Commences AKA
System Launches to Production


Post-Dinner Party

The night has come to an end so was it a success? Did you enjoy your meal, did your guests finish their food? Was there enough to drink or did you have to revert to Plan B (your Risk Mitigation Strategy)? This is known as Post Implementation Verification. During this time, reflect on your migration to understand what went well, what didn’t do well, and what can be done better next time.  Did you meet the stakeholder’s objectives? Is the end result what you expected? This analysis will give you a full understanding of your migration success.

And there you have it a successful reinsurance system migration (and dinner party) in the books!

Still, have questions on how to execute a migration? Our experts have a proven successful methodology for system migrations and are ready to help!