Mainframe Modernization and its Impact on the Insurance Industry

Greg Lotko, General Manager, Mainframe, CA Technologies
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Greg Lotko, General Manager, Mainframe, CA Technologies

Greg Lotko, General Manager, Mainframe, CA Technologies

If you’re bringing true value to your customers, then there’s always an opportunity to capitalize on it and earn your share.

Digital transformation has become the norm for every company today. Organizations interact with their customers across oceans through computers and digital interfaces. In the banking and finance arena, for instance, the evolution has been phenomenal. From ATMs to mobile banking, banking today has come a long way since the early days when it was mandatory to go to a brick and mortar bank to get transactions done. This analogy can also be applied to the insurance industry where technological advances have enabled people to compare different insurance plans, evaluate the pros and cons, and also track the payment of claims in relation to their existing policies.

  Considering digital transformation, companies need to come up with better and innovative ways to introduce new products and capabilities in the market  

While evolving technologies and smartphone apps make everything look effortless and attractive on the frontend, it’s the systems in the background that do the heavy lifting with all the data. Seventy percent of the world’s data either runs on or is housed on mainframes, leading to a mainframe explosion. These vast volumes of data demand to be managed skillfully and effectively. However, many people who are skilled in mainframe technologies are approaching retirement, making it difficult to acquire immediate skills to handle the data on mainframes. But the fact is, everybody gets older every year— regardless of whether they’re related to mainframe, or mobile, or any other technology. What matters more instead isn’t just how we enable fresh graduates to gain expertise or obtain specialized skills on the mainframe, but how we facilitate their interaction with the world outside their learning institutions. Furthermore, trends show a three-and-a-half time’s growth in the capacity of mainframes over the last ten years, demonstrating that mainframe is a platform of revenue growth and innovation. Almost 78 percent of the organizations that rely on mainframes are witnessing an increase in their usage, which is an indication of the level of integration of the existing mainframe systems into modern digital interfaces.

Digital Transformation for Tomorrow

Considering digital transformation, it isn’t sufficient to offer cheap and fast solutions anymore – companies also need to come up with better and innovative ways to introduce new products and capabilities in the market. Consequently, mainframe now focuses on agile and DevOps, to bolster innovations, generate capabilities, and obtain customer feedback. This has become more of a fail-fast and succeed-fast mentality— discovering and eradicating errors in small packets leads to the discontinuation of flawed or manual processes at every level, and in turn, promotes growth. At CA Technologies, agile is in our DNA and we use agile methodologies within our mainframe development. And, we’re working with our customers to help them do the same. In addition, by launching new organic products, and running them on 2-week sprints and quarterly releases, we have reduced our backlog by over 40 percent and issue escalations by 60 percent. As they say, proof in the pudding that we’re “eating our own cooking” and setting an example for enterprises relying on mainframes with our proven story, and further enabling them to lead innovations in their own environment.

We’re also in an era where blockchain is making its entry into every sector. If we look at its impact on mainframe, many ongoing projects in large enterprises, including IBM’s blockchain offerings, are strongly leveraging mainframe due to its securability and scalability. This provides huge opportunity in mainframe in regards to assisting these enterprises in monitoring the environment and ensuring smooth functionality. It’s an imperative in the insurance industry to ensure security and authenticity of personal information and allow it to be accessed only by authorized users.

Looking at what the future holds for healthcare and insurance is also important. Along with the adoption of agile practices and the provision of mainframe education, it’s also necessary to offer a seamless developer experience. We’re building a framework that allows developers to stitch together the open source capabilities and deploy new capabilities to run on mainframe. This is a game-changer offering greater speed, freedom, and flexibility to companies, while also ensuring stability and resilience.

As advice to my peers in various organizations: acknowledge the existence of diverse models in the market and figure out ways to make people more nimble and successful. If you’re bringing true value to your customers, then there’s always an opportunity to capitalize on it and earn your share. Our CA Data Content Discovery (DCD), for example, allows you to search for credit cards, social security numbers and other related information, to find where there is data exposure. It also enables open APIs that facilitates businesses to define the things to scan for that are unique to them. For insurance companies, DCD helps monitor and manage financial data, which is increasingly important. In closing, I’d say it comes down to enabling trust for your customers, so they get the best possible service and value out of the money they spend with you. Taking stock of your existing investments and leverage new technologies to make fast advances in the market to truly benefit your customers and ultimately drive your business revenue is key.