A Fortune 500 International Insurance Company

Nolan’s Expected Outcome Assessment Provides CEO with Critical, Actionable Information

A Fortune 500 international insurance company comprised of three business units: two in the United States and one in Europe. The company is recognized as a global market leader and has been in business for over a century

The Challenge

The CEO knew his European team had been searching for and evaluating replacements for its outdated policy administration system for over a year. This delay hindered entry into new European markets which reduced profits and market share. He was concerned about the team’s inexperience and lack of skills in completing this large, complex IT project. The US business unit had recently completed a similar IT implementation.  The CEO speculated that the enterprise US IT solution might also serve the European market. He needed the two divisions working together to complete the replacement, but it wasn’t happening.

The CEO required an enterprise-level assessment and a clear understanding of the expected outcomes based on the project’s current status and course. He hired the Nolan Company to act as a neutral, unbiased third-party. He needed the objectivity the Nolan team would bring and their deep insurance industry expertise. Nolan’s Expected Outcome Assessment (EOA) would provide a quick, accurate evaluation of obstructions and risks to the IT initiative. The assessment would provide a roadmap for corrective actions. 

The Solution

The Nolan team used the EOA methodology and the proprietary Nolan Views approach. This approach employs targeted analyses focusing on critical factors such as people, process, organization, market, culture, technology and regulatory issues. The EOA methodology develops an accurate and insightful snapshot of the key drivers impacting a project – in this case the client’s IT project. The Nolan team set out to determine if the IT project aligned with the client’s business strategies, market demands and if it would readily accommodate future regulatory requirements.

The team interviewed key European Team stakeholders from finance, marketing, operations, sales and procurement. Those interviewed included program and project managers and members of the leadership team. A customized, client-specific questionnaire was designed. Also, workshops were held with these individuals to validate the collected data. These workshops encouraged open communication, enhanced understanding, and improved teamwork among the departments.

The Results & Benefits

The assessment identified significant weaknesses in the overall project plan. The plan did not align with the company’s business plans and marketing strategy. It did not have the flexibility to quickly respond to changing market needs and to rapidly accommodate regulatory changes. The process of introducing new products was not clearly documented in the plan nor understood by the key stakeholders.

The Nolan Company’s Expected Outcomes Assessment approach and methodology delivered the following benefits: 

  • Armed the CEO with critical information and he stopped the current European replacement project. This ended expending human effort and money on a floundering, outdated implementation.
  • Enabled the CEO to initiate a new project -- to build a viable, realistic business case in alignment with the organization’s business plan, marketing strategy, growth projections, and agility requirements. This would allow the company to rapidly respond to market developments and be viewed as an innovator. 
  • Created the structure, roles and responsibilities for a cross-division executive team. The team was to develop and implement an enterprise-wide solution. This would ensure a common understanding of expectations, responsibilities and accountability to avoid duplicate or unnecessary effort and expense.

Collaboration and teamwork at all levels between the business units resulted in increased open communication and transparency.  It fostered an understanding of how critical decisions impacted each area and encouraged key stakeholder consensus. The business units collaborated to determine a solution that benefited the entire enterprise. The Nolan methodology and related artifacts became part the company’s risk management approach and are used in other corporate projects.