The Guidewire InsuranceSuite is a comprehensive insurance management
solution used by insurance providers to manage their operations. It is a
cloud-based application for managing various aspects of the insurance business, including policy issuance and claims management. The suite offers several modules to help you run your business efficiently by automating processes and enabling collaboration among stakeholders.
Guidewire has been steadily improving its software over the years, including new features and bug fixes. However, unlike more straightforward software, upgrading Guidewire InsuranceSuite requires planning. If you are considering leveraging these improvements, this article discusses the top five factors to consider while upgrading Guidewire InsuranceSuite.
1. Why are you upgrading?
The first factor to consider is why you are upgrading your software and, more importantly, what is the business case for upgrading? You should ask yourself whether the new version has features that will help you do your job better and whether it is compatible with your current hardware and software. Typical reasons for upgrading could include the following.
- Licensing requirements that make upgrading necessary.
- Improving the technical foundation of your enterprise, which includes your tech architecture and performance
- Leveraging new and improved features to improve business capabilities
- Replacing configured features with out-of-the-box(OOTB) features to make maintenance and adoption easier for your employees.
Once you have a clear goal for your upgrade, you can implement a strategy for upgrading your Guidewire InsuranceSuite. If you have a large enterprise, it might be smarter to upgrade the entire suite at once. This way, everyone is working with the same software version and can easily share data. If you have a smaller enterprise, however, it might be better to upgrade one module at a time to test each module before moving on to the next one.
2. What functionality and processes are being upgraded?
When you upgrade, your enterprise has a chance to analyze and review your business processes that are dependent on the upgraded systems. Ideally, the upgrade should optimize your business processes to streamline your workflows. You should determine which OOTB features are essential to your business as very few upgrades are push-button upgrades and it will help plan your Guidewire implementation needs accordingly. It is vital to establish and manage the scope of your upgrades.
You need to consider the customizations you have that will be rendered obsolete by the new version. Identifying the importance of these customizations will help you determine whether you should reduce the upgrade cost in the short term and instead optimize ongoing support and maintenance costs for the long term.
- Is the new version compatible with your hardware and software?
- How long will the upgrade process take, and how long will it take to get back to full productivity after upgrading?
- How will the upgrade impact your existing client base?
3. How are you upgrading?
Upgrading Guidewire InsuranceSuite is far more than simply installing a new product. Before deploying your upgrade, you should identify a roll-out strategy and a contingency plan. It is vital to track systems, vendors, and clients related to the upgrade and assess how it will impact them.
Consider how well-informed your employees are about technology. If your employees aren’t tech-savvy or are apprehensive about new software, it may be worth upgrading only specific modules rather than the entire suite. This way, your employees will be able to work with what they are comfortable with while learning something new parallelly. It is also worth considering planning end-user training and support after deploying your upgrade. Clear communication and support after the initial deployment can facilitate the transition to a new version and allow your employees to be more at ease with the change from old to new processes.
4. What skill sets do you need for upgrading?
It is essential to consider the roles and skillsets that your upgrade will necessitate. Successful upgrades often require dedicated functions such as business analysts, functional consultants, integration consultants, testers, project managers, etc. While the responsibilities of each role are based on the scope of the upgrade, having the right people with the right skillsets will significantly ease the transition to the new version. Identify the crucial stakeholders in your enterprise and assign roles based on your employees’ performance so that they can help your enterprise leverage the maximum benefits by upgrading.
If your employees need extensive training on using the new version of Guidewire InsuranceSuite after an upgrade, it could be costly and time-consuming. Therefore, it is best to make sure that you factor this in when deciding whether or not to upgrade your software platform.”
5. What is the cost and timeline of your upgrade?
An essential factor to think about is the cost of upgrading your Guidewire InsuranceSuite. Several options are available depending on how much customization your business needs; however, upgrading may not be feasible if you have a small budget or limited resources. In this case, there are other options, such as using third-party software or even hiring Guidewire consulting and Guidewire implementation professionals who can help with the transition process for an additional fee.
Cost analysis and the time it would take to upgrade are relevant factors. A lack of capital or too much time on deployment would weaken the transition to the latest Guidewire InsuranceSuite.
Guidewire InsuranceSuite is a comprehensive cloud-based software that has several uses and benefits. Therefore, it requires a clear roll-out plan to reduce operations downtime. Considering the factors mentioned in this article will help you define your upgrade plan and ensure a smooth and successful deployment of the new version of Guidewire InsuranceSuite.
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