Entries by Mark O'Brien

Digital Transformation? Really?

We recently came across the 2018 edition of Top Issues: An Annual Report from PwC. Given the accelerating rate of change, we were quite interested to see what might have transpired since the Report was issued in December of 2017. On page 5, we found this: The companies that … design and implement digital platforms … will […]

SOC it To Me

Fact of life: Data and the processing and transactional functionality that makes use of that data has to reside in a secure environment. Given the number of data breaches that have occurred this year alone, that’s self-evident. So, when the organizations with which you work are reported to be compliant with SOC and other data-security […]

Getting to Know You

Before people fully realize we’re an insurance-focused, software-development shop, they often think we’re Rogers and Hammerstein fans. For a while, we weren’t sure why that was. Then it hit us. One day, we were on a conference call with a prospect. The discussion went something like this: Prospect: What the most important thing to you? Us: Getting […]

Upgrades: What’s Timing Got to Do With It?

We love the periodic notices we get from various entities with which we work in our personal lives, entities like banks, mortgage companies, auto-finance companies, credit-card companies, and others. They typically go something like this: PLEASE NOTE: Our system will be shut down for the Holidays. As a result, it will be offline from New […]

Get in Their Interfaces

In a conversation about user interfaces the other day, we were reminded of the old saying, typically attributed to an unnamed doctor: “The operation was a success. But the patient died.” We’re not equating software developers to doctors by any stretch. But it does occur to us that the best software (by any criteria) could […]

What Constitutes Your Infrastructure?

According to dictionary.com, infrastructure is defined as: The basic, underlying framework or features of a system or organization The fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or area, as transportation and communication systems, power plants, and schools. The insurance industry typically considers infrastructure to mean the technological architectures within which hardware and software are purchased, deployed, […]

Build vs. Buy … Still?

The insurance industry’s debate over whether it’s better to build systems or to buy them dates back almost 3,772 years to the reign of King Hammurabi in Babylon. Within the Code of Hammurabi, the first written insurance policy was inscribed into a Babylonian obelisk. It indemnified debtors against re-paying loans if some personal catastrophe made […]

Software as Job Security

We’ve never conducted any kind of formal or official poll on this. But we’re willing to bet that if we asked most insurers and their employees if they considered their software to be an asset to their organizations and their people — or some kind of threat or liability — the majority would say the […]

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum

We had the opportunity to attend the NAMIC Farm Mutual Forum, which took place May 21st to the 23rd in Columbus, Ohio. And a funny thing happened on our way there. We were reading descriptions of the sessions to be conducted over the course of the Forum, and three of them, in particular, jumped out at us: […]

Chickens, Eggs, and Language

In the insurance industry, which is highly regulated but stubbornly non-standard, we seem to spend a lot of time explaining ourselves, don’t we? Do you ever wonder why? We have a theory: We think it’s because of human nature. As human beings, we’re not terribly interested in smallest, slowest, oldest, least capable, or most common. […]