As software eats the world, more firms are being nibbled at by their computer systems.
Recalcitrant| "having an obstinately uncooperative attitude towards authority or discipline".
Oxford Dictionary of English
As you struggle with a major upgrade to V.10 or V.11 you can be forgiven for considering your core systems recalcitrant. Uncooperative as you try to adapt and anticipate the needs imposed by COVID-19 pressures and changing customer needs.
As The Economist perceptively explains:
"All those problems are compounded by software engineering’s breathless rate of change. Even when a system works, it rapidly becomes obsolete. The woes of British banks are largely the result of trying to maintain such “legacy” systems, written by long-departed programmers (often outsourced) in half-forgotten computer languages to satisfy criteria no one can quite remember. Coders under pressure to add nifty new features often cut corners, storing up problems for the (ever less distant) future.
No different for insurers!
The result, says one expert with decades of experience, is that shiny new it systems can rapidly devolve into rickety, half-understood contraptions held together with gaffer tape and a prayer. Eventually the costs become too great to ignore, and companies must upgrade their systems. But that is the moment of maximum danger, for the new software must do everything that the half-understood old one does, and more. It is, to repeat a common but apposite analogy, like rebuilding an aircraft in flight."
The Economist examines another reason for this state of affairs .
The inherent difficulty of programming is made worse by the shortcomings of software engineering as a profession. These are laid out in a book, “The Problem With Software: Why Smart Engineers Write Bad Code”. The author, Adam Barr, spent 20 years as a developer for Microsoft, a software giant. Many coders, he notes, are at least partly self-taught. That leads to bad habits, which software-engineering courses fail to correct. There is too little communication between academia and industry, and no real agreement on what to teach or what habits to instil. The result, argues Mr Barr, is a field in which folklore and fads too often take the place of professional standards.
To illustrate the field’s shaky foundations, Mr Barr points to the practice, popular with technology firms like Google or Apple, of giving job candidates a programming problem to solve on a whiteboard. Few other fields behave that way, because they assume that, by dint of having graduated, applicants have already achieved a basic level of competence. Doctors do not expect anatomy quizzes before being hired.
Do you feel like you are "Rebuilding an aircraft in flight?" Let's reassure you by explaining how 360Globalnet saves you that panic and keeps your feet firmly on the ground.
Our CTO Dave Hogan-
"This illustrates the problems with other fields, not ours. There is a wide range of competence out there for a given experience level. A person with only a “basic level of competence” will do more harm than good if given a significant role, especially in medicine or mechanical engineering. Our field is relatively young and free to innovate in the hiring process, and so we test people before we hire them. As should other fields that involve any sort of domain specific knowledge and problem solving.
To address a key factor The Economist worries about :
Coders under pressure to add nifty new features often cut corners, storing up problems for the (ever less distant) future.
This is the real problem - pressure. No one knows how long it will take to do a good job, so if you pressure programmers to deliver by an arbitrary deadline then at best you’ll get something that works but adds serious structural problems later. At worst you’ll get something that works only for the happiest of paths, if at all. But as you get what you measure, you’ll get it done ‘on time’.
After 13 years of iteration, by now our codebase should be a tangled pile of spaghetti and defects. But it’s not. New joiners ship code into production environments within a week or two. And although the system is getting big, there aren’t areas of the code that people are afraid to work on.
It takes strength to walk away from deadlines and long term predictability. But in return, if you are careful, you can build a system that doesn’t need to be replaced with something new that was written from scratch."
Every one of our customers from Australia to the USA runs the current version of 360SiteView which major consultancy SMA describes a s a next-gen claims and risk management platform. They are upgraded frequently, and at NO COST, with no disruption like that suffered with recalcitrant core software and platforms.
Of course, software development and tools constantly change and, when necessary, a complete rewrite will be released.
That should give you all peace of mind. As a SVP at one of our household name insurance customers said last month (whilst facing a major upgrade to its incumbent core system):
"Never has vendor selection been more critical, and the fact that none of us can afford to go through a technology desert while we work on our core systems."
She is able to continue to innovate, iterate and optimise claims journeys and user experience with 360SiteView. Even add new claims types to the transformation strategy like Workers Comp.
360SiteView is a no-code software platform which means that the business can innovate and change in plain English (or other native language) from the desktop and this only needs a few days training. That means not burdening central IT leaving them free to focus on the rigours of the core system upgrade.
360SiteView- the complete opposite to recalcitrant!
The result, says one expert with decades of experience, is that shiny new IT systems can rapidly devolve into rickety, half-understood contraptions held together with gaffer tape and a prayer. Eventually the costs become too great to ignore, and companies must upgrade their systems. But that is the moment of maximum danger, for the new software must do everything that the half-understood old one does, and more. It is, to repeat a common but apposite analogy, like rebuilding an aircraft in flight.