Volume 2, Issue 1
A technology update for employees of NBIC.
Website and Portal Update Judy Fanelli The implementation of NBIC.com and MyNBIC.com is progressing as planned, both NBIC.com and the new agent portal, MyNBIC.com, are in Beta (test) and on schedule. Envision Technology Advisors, LLC, a Providence based firm and an APEX technology partner, is taking the lead on refreshing the look and feel of the NBIC.com website and helping us create a more robust new agent portal. We expect both sites to go live at the same time in the first quarter of 2010. During the past few months, we have worked closely with the APEX Agency Council. This council consists of MA, RI, NY and NJ agency CSR’s. Approximately, once a month the council meets via a webinar to take a look at what’s new or changes that have been made to the agent portal. These CSR’s provide positive feedback and suggestions in helping us create an agent portal that meets the needs of our agents. In addition to feedback from our agents, we feel it is important to keep NBIC staff informed about APEX. Every other week Jeremy Bennett, Ed Tobin, Dennis Steckler, Mike Anselmo and I meet with the underwriting, marketing and policy services departments and provide them with an overview of what has been going on with this part of the Apex project. We appreciate everyone taking the time out of their busy days to meet with us every other week. We recently added a couple of new features to the agent portal that should prove valuable to our NBIC agents. First, on the portal will be a link to ShelterPride Mueller Inspections, home inspections for their respective customers. This will give our NBIC agents access to their home inspections; that will enable them to answer simple customer related questions, as well as explain the inspection findings to customers so homeowners can address any of the inspection recommendations. We feel it is important to provide our agents with the tools they need to their jobs. The better they do their jobs and they have the tools, the more business will come our way. Continued on page 4 - Website
Apex 2010 Mike Anselmo
Happy New Year to everyone and welcome to our first 2010 edition of NBICompass. As we continue to move at light speed so much more has been completed since our last edition. In this newsletter you will read about our progress on Apex from Dennis Steckler, including our new milestones and deliverable charts; Judy Fanelli shares with you the updated news on our new NBIC.com website and our MyNBIC.com agency portal; Jen Travers provides us with an update on the hardware to support Apex, Ed Tobin defines what Service Management and Track 2 is all about and John Rafferty once again provides us with a Business Update. Since our last newsletter, the Information Technology department has been deeply involved in Project Apex and has provided some new functionality to the business as well with Phoenix and Write-1. I am sure you’ve all enjoyed your holidays and are welcoming in the new year. Look for our release of MyNBIC.com soon as part of our Day 0 deliverables for Apex. Enjoy this edition of the Compass and we will update you again soon.
Apex Program Management Update Dennis Steckler As we continue APEX implementation efforts in 2010, we are focusing on a multitude of moving parts that by our Go Live date must work in harmony. We have developed an overall APEX implementation plan and update it weekly to track our progress for production release in June. The business and technical requirements are 90% complete, with some modifications arising out of further clarifications made by the vendors or during development efforts. Additionally, we have a very clear APEX architecture roadmap that is on display in the APEX training room that allows the team to see where APEX is headed – read the chart from left to right. Achievements over the past month include:
w Exigen SOW 1 (primary application functionality for Day 1) is complete; two additional SOWs are being prepared for data migration and testing efforts w Exigen Sprint 1 was delivered; Sprint 2 will be released in February w BlueWave has delivered Sandbox 2 with Sandbox 3 delivered on January 18th
the development of the NBIC.com public website
w The RFP for a new Print & Distribution (P&D) vendor is proceeding to conclusion by the end of January and implementation beginning in February
w The first iteration (pre-APEX) of the Agent Portal as a front end to our legacy applications is in User Acceptance Training (UAT) and scheduled for release to our agents and NBIC staff by mid-February
w Envision, working with the management team and DavidID is close to completing
Apex Milestones Apex Project Milestone Chart
January 1/15 1/22
February 2/12 2/19
March 3/12 3/19
Administration Vendor Plans Overall Baseline Plan Integration Validation Plan
♦ Final Plans ♦ Final Plans ♦ Final Plans
Policy SOWs Sprints & Testing User Acceptance Testing (UAT) Interface Development Claims SOWs Sandboxes & Testing Interface Development FNOL (Innovation 1st Notice) User Acceptance Testing (UAT) Web Presence Public Website Agent Portal Single Sign‐on Agent On‐Boarding Other Print & Distribution Finalcial Interfaces Backoffice & Reporting ♦ Key Milestone Deliverables
♦ Final Plans ♦ (2) → Continuous
♦ Final ♦ (3) → ♦ Final Reqs
♦ (3) →
♦ (4) → App Delivered for UAT
♦ (4) → Continuous → ♦ Implementation Begins
♦ (5) →
♦ (6) →
UAT App Delivered for UAT
♦ Go Live ♦ Day0 Go Live ♦ Day1 Development ♦ Day0 Go Live ♦ Day1 Development ♦ Requirements ♦ Decision ♦ Gather Reqs & Begin Implementation ♦ Gather Reqs & Begin Implementation with BOA and Stoneriver ♦ Final Reqs ♦ Development →
Day1 UAT ♦ Day1 UAT ♦ ♦ Development UAT UAT UAT
♦ ♦ ♦
Apex Infrastructure Update Jen Travers A reliable, scalable, energy efficient technology infrastructure can play a major role in the success of any organization. It is no different at NBIC. Track 3, one of the four primary strategic APEX tracks, calls for a complete redesign and build out of the company’s technology infrastructure including the corporate data center. NBIC’s legacy infrastructure systems will soon be a thing of the past -- like the dinosaurs. Under the guidance of the Infrastructure and Operations team in IT, NBIC is building modern, stable and optimized systems and infrastructure that reliably support our business goals, our agent partners and our technology providers such as Exigen and BlueWave. The updated infrastructure will allow the newly created Policy Administration System and Claims Administration System to talk to one another and support other critical areas such as hosting the refreshed NBIC website and agent portal, single sign-on capability, and expanded storage capacity.
At the end of October, the Track 3 team achieved a major milestone by expanding the company’s storage capacity by 300% and increasing network performance. This achievement gives the company more than adequate storage capacity to handle future growth. With improved scalability, the upgraded network allows the company to implement future changes faster, as well as offers failover Internet connectivity to ensure continuous business operations. Other network improvements include secured email encryption and webmail capabilities that allow employees to access their email offsite. In terms of the company’s data center, it also has experienced significant improvements as well. The team reduced the data center’s footprint by 66% resulting in lower energy consumption, as well as helping the company reclaim valuable space for future growth. To reduce the size of the data center, the team introduced virtualization technologies that reduced the number of 2
physical servers while allowing the remaining servers to do more work. In addition, the team significantly improved processing power by retiring all legacy servers and introducing new server and storage technologies. In the next several weeks we will be launching the new NBIC.com and myNBIC.com at our external data center provider. As myNBIC.com is a critical access point for our agents, we have decided that the external data center gives us the appropriate up time coverage and supports the business during any potential event at our Pawtucket facility. In the future, we will be looking to leverage this vendor to move more of our critical infrastructure to this external location. This will allow IT to provide improved support and handle system redundancy as NBIC continues to growth and expand it business. Stay tuned for future updates on the various infrastructure projects and how they affect you.
w Innovation First Notice was selected as our FNOL vendor and requirements gathering has begun w Meetings with StoneRiver and Bank of America are providing NBIC with the know-how to manage check printing (of policy, claims and vendor checks) and implementation of new billing capabilities for our insureds; implementation with both of these vendors will begin by the end of January
framing with the delivery of Sprint 2. We have a framed house with some of the mechanicals completed in the claim system by the delivery of Sandbox 3. As with building a house, we will experience the sensations of excitement about what the house will look like and the patience
required to work through the building process. In our next newsletter, we will continue with an update on overall activities and focus on our selection of the Print & Distribution vendor and how their capabilities will enhance NBIC’s goals.
The APEX team and its vendors are multitasking processes to build the new insurance processing capabilities for NBIC and its agents. The methodologies utilized are more agile and iterative than traditional implementation efforts and produce accelerated development of functionality in short-term (monthly) deliverables. It is very similar to building a house as the foundation is built, followed by the framing, siding and roofing, followed by the build out of the mechanicals, etc. At every Sprint and Sandbox, NBIC staff will be able to see how far we have come and how far we will need to go before the house is ready for occupancy. The foundation is now built for policy administration and will be ready for
Business Systems Update John Rafferty As we open upon 2010 we want to take this opportunity to recap some very significant and exciting accomplishments on our Apex Policy Administration System (PAS) Development Project: Our Policy Administration System (PAS) vendor (Exigen) is nearing completion of our first “sprint” or system prototype. We expect to review this sometime later this month. You’ll have an opportunity to tell us what you like and what you might like to see changed. Exigen developers will take your suggestions back to the workshop and return with another version or sprint. Development will proceed like this a few times again before we settle on the version and functionality we’ve signed up for. Here’s a list of some of the significant milestones we’ve achieved so far:
w Key business rules for our major transactions (i.e. New Business Quoting, Policy
Issuing, Renewal Processing, Endorsement Processing, Cancellation and Reinstatement Processing, and Billing) were carefully reviewed and reengineered in order to leverage the new technology and provide for much higher rates of Straight Through Processing (i.e. STP).
w All our products were reviewed for opportunities to streamline processing and speed development of the new system. w All our policy forms and other NBIC specific forms and documents have been standardized and given a brand new and modern look. The new formatting also makes them easier to read. w We have created a much more user friendly screen flow to allow for quick and consistent policy quoting and issuing. You will see more this month upon release of the first prototype (or “sprint”). 3
w We have settled on the key third party interfaces we want for the first release. This will provide for ease of use by our agents and underwriters in that we will not have to leave the system in order to retrieve data or other information. w We are about to select a Print and Distribution vendor that will provide NBIC with the most modern technological capabilities in this area. We will have the ability to create on demand, customized and targeted marketing. We will be able to do this by agency or groups of agencies, by region, territory, or state. Finally, we want to thank each of you for all your input and support during the development of the new system. You’ve accomplished a great deal last year and we congratulate you for that. We look forward to an exciting and successful 2010!
Apex Track 2 and why do we need Service Management? Ed Tobin
As part of the APEX initiative, Track 2 focuses on implementing service management processes and policies that will drive operational efficiencies, provide high-quality customer focused services and offer reliable IT services. Another key aspect of Track 2 involves minimizing negative impacts to the business in the event of a disaster, emergency or crisis. As a result, Track 2 will also lay the foundation for establishing a business continuity and disaster recovery plan. Service Management NBIC is developing processes and tools that will lead to improvements with the NBIC IT environment, greater integration between IT and the business, increased levels of IT service availability and improved customer service. The new service management solutions will help IT understand how their infrastructure and technology investments support the business and how business benefits from all technology improvements. NBIC will follow the ITIL® best practices and the ISO 2000 international standard for IT service management to design the new processes; these are worldwide enterprise solutions for any size company using best practices. Based on more than 20 years of research involving hundreds of companies worldwide, ITIL® offers an evolving set of best practice techniques and business processes for managing IT services. These best practice techniques, processes and methods will help pave the way for NBIC’s growth now and in the future. A key advantage of adopting ITIL is the wide availability of various IT service management tools. NBIC plans to implement a single tool that can support, manage, integrate, automate and report on the processes, as well as the IT service as a whole. Right now, NBIC is leaning toward implementing one of the market leading service management tools, Service-Now, prior to the APEX launch in 2010, replacing the Spiceworks ticket management system. One of the first goals is to establish a more stable support environment to transition to APEX. To achieve this goal, NBIC will quickly implement a set of five key ITIL processes. These processes include:
w Incident Management – user reporting and tracking w Request Management – functional changes to systems or hardware w Change Management – system changes and management of those changes w Release Management – upgrades to systems w Problem Management – event management for handling of problems NBIC expects to achieve several benefits by following the ITIL service management best practices. Benefits to the company include:
w Improves and sustains service availability and reduces expenses w Establishes a framework for Service Level Agreements with users (internal and external) w Helps reduce IT costs by building in continuous improvement into all processes and procedures w Provides a common language (ITIL) for both IT and the business that enables productive partnerships w Allows IT to demonstrate the true value add to the business w Creates a flexible and scalable IT offering that can grow with the business w Fosters an environment and culture that allows innovation to flourish w Plays important role in many takeovers and acquisitions where previously hidden IT costs have increased the true cost of an acquisition Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery In addition to the new service management processes, NBIC is also developing its initial business continuity and disaster recovery plan to protect the long-term interests of the company. The business continuity plan focuses on how to keep business operations running in the event of an interruption to IT services. The disaster recovery plan details how the company would respond to an unexpected loss of the Maple Street office. In other words, how would we respond if our office were suddenly unavailable due to power loss, flooding or another crisis or emergency? 4
NBIC will create a business continuity plan and disaster recovery plan that will help the firm minimize the impact of events on business operations and reputation through effective emergency response, crisis communication and expedient operational recovery. As part of the planning process, we will be conducting a business interruption drill and disaster drill to test the company’s ability to react and respond to either challenge. Employees working remotely that day will be asked to: 1. Call into the Contingency Information Line and receive instructions 2. Document issues that occur with working remotely 3. Complete exercise participant survey and review with your manager 4. Return survey, completed to our Disaster Recovery Coordinator NBIC’s immediate service management goals include implementing the five key ITIL processes and the Service-Now management tool prior to the APEX launch in the first quarter of 2010. With the help of our expert consultants, I am confident that we will meet our service management goals, as well as our business continuity and disaster recovery plan development and testing. Continued from page 1 - Website It is also our goal to provide to internal NBIC staff the use of NBIC.com and MyNBIC.com in January 2010. Internal users will use NBIC.com to log into MyNBIC.com to access AllternetWrite-1 and Citrix/Phoenix systems. This will give us a couple of weeks of testing before the site goes live to the public and to our agencies. Following the initial launch of MyNBIC.com, we plan to integrate additional APEX initiatives such as a link to our new policy administration system and claims administration system into the new agent portal later in 2010. Things change quickly around here lately at NBIC so if you blink you may miss something. Keep your eyes and minds open, we love your feedback. Thank you to everyone who has been helping with this project to date.