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In this article, we interviewed Troy Michalski, vice president of professional services at Origami Risk. In his capacity, Troy oversees the implementation of Origami’s multi-tenant core insurance policy, billing, and claims products for insurers, MGAs, pools, and TPAs. This discussion focuses on the process that has led the company to successfully manage the configuration and go-live for more than 900 current customers. 

Q: What does the process look like for implementation after a client signs on with Origami Risk?

A: Leading up to a client sale, there are a number of planning and knowledge transfer sessions between the sales team and the project team to ensure aligned support of the client project. Once the sale is closed, planning and scheduling of the inception phase of our methodology occurs. This is the planning phase of the project where we seek to align with the client on the project approach, detailed scope of work, target schedule, resources required to enable the plan, and more refined effort and cost estimates.

Q: What preparations do you recommend clients make prior to beginning an implementation project?

A: Business engagement in transformational projects is paramount to the project’s success. Clients that recognize that these efforts should be business-led and technology-enabled, and align focused capacity in recognition of this, do much better than clients that do not.

Clients are encouraged to be introspective about their internal capabilities and to consider engaging a system integrator for assistance. System integrators provide a variety of services ranging from strategic advisory and target state operating models to staff augmentation for requirements analysis, configuration, and testing.

Q: What do you believe the keys to implementation success look like?
  • Document a clear vision and build consensus internally.
  • Be proactive and consistent with change management at all levels of the organization.
  • Establish clear roles, responsibilities, and SOP’s.
  • Adopt a minimum viable product (MVP) mindset and understand what is needed now and what could wait until later phases of the project. It’s critical to be disciplined. 
  • Ensure adequate capacity alignment from business leaders and users with authority to make final decisions regarding business processes and related system configuration. 
  • Provide clear communication, governance channels, and processes.
Q: What challenges an implementation project, and how can they be navigated?

Vision misalignment – It’s crucial that the client executive team and business users have a similar vision for success. Aligning on what outcomes are expected and why the project is being done, what is included, what is not included, and what the mechanism is for delivery and prioritization of deferred items helps to ensure decision-making on the project is adhering to the company’s expectations from the onset.

Capacity Issues – A project’s success is dependent on business and technical resources from the client organization. Planning for and aligning this capacity is paramount to avoid impeding the project's velocity, resulting in delays and staffing-related cost overruns. This is a tough balance and needs to be planned strategically.

Insufficient Change Management – Recognizing the magnitude of change the project will bring to your organization and consider proactively mobilizing a significant organizational change management effort that is integrated into key forums within the company (e.g., town halls, talent leader meetings, 1:1s, other opportunities for project “show and tells,” etc.).

Poor Communication – A new team is being formed with individuals from the client, possibly a system integrator firm, and also Origami. From the project onset, it’s critical to have open lines of communication within a project team and a clear escalation path for the team if they need help. Challenges arise on projects and clear and transparent communication always enable teams to be more agile in how they respond and navigate through a given challenge efficiently and effectively together.

Misunderstanding the key driver – What is your key driver for the project? If it’s speed to market, for example, there should be an acknowledgment that certain key features or capabilities may come after the initial MVP release and in place of those, manual processes need to be accounted for and enabled. Budget or quality are other options for the team to optimize around and having clear direction from the client team here will help the project run more smoothly.

Q: Once the platform goes “live,” what happens next?

A: Leading up to taking the system live, there will be a series of knowledge transfer and process alignment activities to prepare the client team to move from the implementation project to ongoing support.

There is a “hyper-care” period where key project personnel remain closely aligned with the client to support any post-live issues or scope items deferred to after the initial go-live.

It is common for clients to have subsequent phases of their projects to add more integrations, feature capabilities, or geographic expansions that were deemed outside of scope for the minimum viable product or the initial release.

To learn more about Origami Risk’s approach to P&C core cloud Implementations, read our complimentary ebook “7 Proven Strategies for Successfully Implementing a P&C Core Insurance Cloud Platform”.