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12 Core Practice Case Study

Best Practices Case Study Compendium 2017

Published: June 2017

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Novarica’s sixth annual best practices case study compendium includes more than 30 detailed examples of recent IT initiatives that delivered real business impact. Each case details business goals, project sponsor, team structure, project timeline, tools and technology used, challenges faced, success factors, and business results delivered.

The diverse group of winners shared the common characteristics of all impactful projects: clear articulation of target value and benefits, consistent executive support, effective multi-stakeholder communications during the project, and swift resolution of inevitable challenges.

2017 Winners

  • AF Group for its core systems project (core)
  • American Family for its self-service analytics initiative (data)
  • COUNTRY for automating life underwriting (core)
  • EMC Insurance for drone image recognition
  • Grange for its Amazon Alexa initiative (digital)
  • Homesite for its sales portal (digital)
  • MetLife for its enterprise analytics program (practice and infrastructure)
  • The Doctors Company for its M&A integration framework (practice and infrastructure)

Key Points
Core systems projects, whether they’re replacements or expansions, are creating real value in speed-to-issue, straight-through processing, and improved service levels.
Data and analytics initiatives are mostly focused on creating better and faster access to insight for knowledge workers, but emerging technologies and AI are starting to be used as well.
Digital initiatives are streamlining and improving communication and access to information for all stakeholders, primarily through effective usage of well-proven technologies.
IT Practices and Infrastructure, while challenging to secure funding for due to indirectly realized benefits, can be the key to unlocking value and enabling future innovation.

The Winners…4
AF Group: Core Systems Cloud Replacement…7
COUNTRY: Automated Underwriting…8
Amica Mutual: Externalized PCI Compliance…9
Canal Insurance: Core Systems Consolidation…10
Everest Re: New Reinsurance Product Suite…11
La Capitale: Core Systems Replacement…12
Liberty Mutual: Cloud-Based Core Platform…13
National Life: Core Systems Implementation…14
New York Life: Call Center Management…15
NSM: Core Systems Replacement…16
Penn Mutual: New Business Platform…17
PLMILM: Claims & Document Imaging Consolidation…18
ProSight: Core Suite Implementation…19
American Family: Self-Service Data & Analytics…21
EMC: Drones and Image Recognition…22
Amerisure: Common Enterprise View…23
Penn National: Underwriter Dashboard…24
Starstone: Big Data and AI Underwriting Tool…25
Grange: Amazon Alexa for Policyholders…27
Homesite: Cloud Portal and PAS…28
Celina: Agent Electronic Worklist and Mobile App…29
EMC: Underwriter Collaboration Platform…30
Fair American: Business Partner Portal…31
GroupHEALTH: Automated Enrollment…32
New York Life: Broker Portal and Rating…33
Penn Mutual: Advisor Digital Platform…34
Vermont Mutual: Digital FNOL Entry…35
MetLife: Accelerating Analytics via Collaboration…37
The Doctors: M&A Integration Framework…38
Grange: Enterprise Capability Model…39
Grange: IT Strategic Planning…40
ProSight: AWS Cloud Conversion…41
Trustmark: Iterative QA Adoption…42
Trustmark: Managed Services Model…43
Concluding Thoughts…44
Next Steps and Related Research…44
About Novarica…45

Case writing is a vital force behind research at HBS. Nearly 80 percent of cases used at business schools worldwide are developed by HBS faculty. HBS case studies have helped refine the skills and business judgment of tens of thousands of students, practitioners, and academics across the world. The School is continually expanding and refreshing course content as HBS faculty write new cases that span the globe, industries, disciplines, and organizational forms in the public, private for profit, and non-profit spaces. As its faculty continues to develop case studies, the School is shaping business learning and educating future leaders in a positive way for years to come.

What is a case study?

The HBS case study is a teaching vehicle that presents students with a critical management issue and serves as a springboard to lively classroom debate in which participants present and defend their analysis and prescriptions. The average case is 15 to 20 pages long (about 7 to 12 pages of prose and 5 to 7 pages of tables and figures). The two main types of cases at the School are field cases based on onsite research, and library cases written solely from public sources. HBS also writes "armchair" cases based entirely on faculty’s general knowledge and experience. Moreover, in 1995, the School’s Educational Technology Services began producing multimedia cases that provide a rich learning experience by bringing together video, audio, graphics, animation, and other mediums.

Case research and writing

At HBS, academic research and case development are connected and mutually reinforcing. Cases provide the opportunity for faculty to assess and develop ideas, spark insights on nascent research questions early in a project, illustrate theory in practice, and get feedback in the classroom on those very concepts. In addition, case writing provides faculty a means to collaborate and to develop research ideas both across disciplines and across institutions.

Field case development is a dynamic and collaborative process in which faculty engage business or governmental leaders, sometimes working together with a colleague at HBS or at other academic institutions. The Case Studies for Harvard Business School brochure is a helpful resource to organizations interested in working with the School on a case. Case leads are identified based on a faculty’s teaching purpose and may arise as the result of a past relationship with an executive, a former student, or from a professor’s interest in exploring with a company’s management team a situation that would provide a meaningful learning experience. HBS works closely with host organizations to guarantee confidentiality.

Field cases typically take two months to complete - from obtaining a host organization’s approval to move forward on a case, to conducting onsite interviews, and drafting a case that paints a picture of the management issue and provides a mix of real-world uncertainty and information required for decision-making analysis.

Case support

A vast array of case-writing support is available to HBS faculty. Support is provided by case writers who work as individual research associates or are available on a project by project basis through our on-campus Case Research and Writing Group and eight regional research centers (Asia-Pacific, California, Europe, India, Japan, Latin America, Harvard Center Shanghai, and Istanbul). Baker Library’s extensive business collection and specialist librarians comprise another invaluable research and case-writing resource.

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