“Form follows function” was a phrase coined in the realm of architecture. Its principal truth, though, resides in nearly every facet of engineering. If the core of something doesn’t accomplish what it needs to accomplish, the peripherals are of little value. And it won’t survive.
Let’s look at this principle from the angle of insurance. The race to the Cloud started just a few years ago while the insurance industry was still in the throes of legacy transformation. Cloud shift has been elevated to the boardroom with an expectation to show meaningful progress to satisfy the board mandate of addressing business risks and competitiveness. Cloud can be a differentiator but only if it is more than just hosting or an infrastructure. It must be positioned as SaaS (Software as a Service) with underlying software components re-architected to take advantage of SaaS. Simply lifting and shifting may provide some short-term flexibility and cost advantages, but it does not provide a long-term, sustainable differentiator in today’s accelerating competitive business environment. Insurers have been longing, for years, to paste a better form on top of their function. This is what traditional portals have been. Carriers are now looking to provide differentiated customer experiences to better compete in the market. As a result, insurers have hit a massive hurdle. Legacy or even modern, on-premise core systems can’t provide a real-time experience. What is needed is digital functionality. Digital experiences must be ‘cloud-enabled’ to take advantage of valuable cloud-based services and microservices, to bring the function up to the level of the form.
Insurance functions as a service, be that core, data, distribution or digital must be well-integrated and architected for the cloud environment or else it may not provide business differentiation.
This is why Majesco and Microsoft® offer a tightly integrated and jointly supported secure and scalable digital insurance platform architected for Azure. Majesco CloudInsurer® integrated with Microsoft Azure and its insurance vertical capabilities are like an insurance dream team — the partnership fits today’s insurance necessities because the solution is built to deal with insurance’s pain points of the digital world. Majesco CloudInsurer® is a future-ready insurance platform for both P&C, L&A and Group products.
What Kind of Differences Can Carriers Find in the Majesco/Microsoft SaaS Solution?
Let’s take a tour. To uncover some of the major differences in what Majesco and Microsoft are jointly providing within Majesco CloudInsurer®, I invited Jonathan Silverman, director of Insurance Industry Solutions for US – Financial Services at Microsoft, and Manish Shah, president and chief product officer at Majesco, to provide us with some insights. First, we’ll ask Manish about why Majesco selected Microsoft, as opposed to other potential clouds.
Microsoft’s Insurance Vertical Focus
“At the beginning of interest in the cloud, not many people thought that it would pick up in such a risk averse industry. Data security and control were big inhibitors. Majesco always viewed the cloud as a platform for SaaS solutions which are a completely different paradigm shift in terms of how it could provide business value. We never saw the cloud as infrastructure outsourcing or as a managed service. We saw cloud as a very integral and intertwined component of any application architecture that would be forming the future of digital insurance. We started shifting our application architecture to prepare for the Cloud era.”
An architecture shift is not trivial. Majesco needed to embrace new microservices design principles coupled with the latest cloud-native technologies while ensuring a focus on domain-rich functionality.
“Digital insurance is all about leveraging newer business services, utilizing ecosystems, trying to bring new technologies to the solutions and keeping these services and technologies tightly integrated as well as upgraded as a SaaS solution that could constantly evolve, scale be kept secured.
“We found that Microsoft was also shifting their business model and placing big bets on the Cloud. Their investment in cloud infrastructure and security coupled with their vertical focus, especially financial services, struck a chord with us. Microsoft values their partners and helps with application architecture, scalability and security which were very important to us as we were undergoing transformation of our application architecture.”
“Microsoft is always looking for ways to drive industry value with our enabling technologies. For example, how can insurers use AI, machine learning and data to provide a differentiated customer claims experience, identify fraudulent scenarios, improve risk modelling, analyze agencies and agent’s productivity, and create models of agencies that would be more profitable? We wanted to know how we could help insurers use data to improve their underwriting capability, not within the system, but within the process and also how we could lower carrier costs while speeding up the process. Microsoft Azure’s capabilities were created to enable technologies like Majesco’s.”
Pledged to success — Finding the real definition of Software as a Service
For software to become “Software as a Service,” it has to provide more than software. The industry definition of SaaS leaves off the real promise of its value proposition. Within a partnering environment, such as Majesco’s with Microsoft, Majesco is reclaiming its rightful definition as Software PLUS a host of ecosystem tools and services that insurers will find to be indispensable.
Two examples stick out: software updates and security.
“In software as a service, you are providing your customers with a solution that is constantly up to date and regularly improved. You can look at the change in experience through what Microsoft has done - all of its software is now offered as a service. You never see updates; You only see new functionality. This is what is unique about what Majesco is doing. Carriers receive updates, with new functionality and differentiation that is completely invisible to the user. Updates are done without disruption; Everything Majesco is doing today becomes seamless.”
This especially helps in a day and age where multiple partnerships would tend to complicate traditional system management.
“We keep things up to date and secure and make sure that we’re protecting our partners, our customers and their customers. Because we have these collaborative partnerships, we’re able to create significant value that goes across the business value chain, because everybody is maintaining that real time update and managing it on behalf of the customer so that they can focus on their core insurance business.
“That's part of the real benefit of software as a service. You take your technology commitment, and you give it to someone else so that you can focus on your business and your customers.
“When you take a solution like Majesco CloudInsurer and implement in Azure, you're taking advantage of endpoint security and all of the security that Microsoft has developed within Azure specifically for financial services. It gives customers a real level of comfort because everything is locked down in the same environment. Even if you're pulling data from other sources, it's coming through a secure pipe.”
“All of these features, plus the access to our integrated support teams, differentiate the relationship from a simple hosting on the cloud platform. We are actually working together to build an industry-focused solution for addressing the real pain points of the industry, just as Jonathan described.”
The Business Case — Simplicity in Pricing and Usage
Of course, none of the functionality and security makes sense if the pricing isn’t in line with the kinds of transformations that insurers are making as they test the waters with digital business models. Forming new business models and new product strategies requires value-based, scalable pricing.
“We’ve removed the fixed investment that a carrier normally places into both licenses and infrastructure and we’ve replaced it with usage-based pricing. This will give insurers the ability to ramp things up without starting with a higher fixed cost. As they ramp up their business, they can manage their expenses. From a customer perspective, they’re getting a SaaS solution that is tied to their direct written premium that can be managed as an operating expense in proportion to their revenue instead of requiring an upfront large capital expenditure.””
Jonathan was also able to comment on cost savings through experience with Azure usage.
“There’s a potential for huge savings from an infrastructure perspective. We’re seeing savings of up to 65%, but it is dependent on timing and overall need. For example, let’s say you were just about to refresh your hardware. Instead of refreshing your hardware, if you choose to utilize a cloud-based solution, you would see greater savings, however, you would still need to monitor how you are using the solution to get the most value from your investment.”
Traditionally, the business is also concerned with how a new solution will fit within existing constraints, because integration has its own share of expenses and hurdles. Manish explained how Majesco has made integration easier by utilizing the Azure infrastructure.
“Every customer has an ecosystem of platforms on their side. Majesco CloudInsurer fits in that ecosystem. While our SaaS components are well-integrated, they will still have to be integrated with other systems that may or may not be running on the cloud. This is where we again leverage an Azure API gateway. Bringing the values from the Azure infrastructure, we broke down our applications into thousands of OAS 3.0 compliant API's, and we are exposing those APIs through the Azure API gateway so that the customers can orchestrate and govern API usage for effective integration.
This flexibility is one of the main reasons that Majesco CloudInsurer is a tool for future-ready insurance. Its speed to market fits with the executive level need to shift gears and boost profits while improving digital proficiency.
“When we look at Majesco and its plans for the future, there is great alignment with Microsoft from a technology perspective. Majesco is using technology to enable many insurance scenarios. It is using its experience and differentiating its solutions, incorporating them into Azure and taking advantage of enabling technologies around security, data, data science, cognitive services, and all that Microsoft has available to enable differentiation.”
“With Majesco CloudInsurer as an integration between Majesco software and Azure capabilities, we’ve hit our vision for how Majesco and Microsoft can work together to bring customer-focused capabilities together and help insurers execute winning strategies. SaaS is now more than a technology, it is a way of doing business to seize new opportunities, enhancing customer experience and achieving new levels of profitability through cost optimization and data insights. That was always the vision and now we’re seeing how powerful a solution it really is.”
I would like to thank Jonathan and Manish for giving us the background on how Majesco and Microsoft are jointly creating a dynamic Majesco CloudInsurer experience — a thoughtful and well-constructed approach that has anticipated so many insurer barriers to entry and is ready for the future of insurance. To learn even more, check out our resource hub and register here for our upcoming webinar with Jonathan and Ravi Krishnan, SVP & CTO of Product Enhancement on June 24th, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.