Businesses in the insurance sector are among the top adopter of cloud infrastructure alongside banking and financial services. However, the sector faces several challenges that are crucial to its operations and competitiveness. While some of these challenges can be met optimally using cloud infrastructure and its capabilities, some still remain at large.
On the technology side, the Guidewire cloud is among the top choices for insurance services as it was built specifically for the industry. It provides all the essential capabilities and overcomes most of the challenges faced by insurers. But the ‘technology debt’ accumulated by the organizations over years has brought some unique challenges for the businesses. One of the major challenges here is associated with data migration and test data management.
Historically, Test Data Management (TDM) is a general problem faced by all industries that use IT infrastructure to do business. However, the sensitive nature of customer data available in some industries makes it a bigger problem for them due to added compliance and security needs. When we factor in the technological shift from legacy technologies to the cloud, the problem inflates broadly. The compatibility and backtracking requirements with the available data requires a whole new strategy to adopt the Guidewire cloud compared to a simple lift-and-shift approach.
Planning Data Migration for the Right Access
One of the key challenges to test data management arises out of data access and sampling. This can be reduced or eliminated through proper mapping, validating and migrating the available data. With Guidewire cloud and cloud services in general, the process is plagued by the compatibility issues and data processing.
Depending on the amount of data, the cleansing and operationalization of data can be done in multiple phases. These phases need to account for test data management as well. Migrating relevant samples and representative data for different TDM and test automation needs is a strategic priority for insurers, among others. Also, planning migration with test data needs can accelerate the resolution of errors in data along with the applications.
Reducing time for test data provisioning and refresh are key components for a fast and agile DevOps cycle. Right access to test data is highly dependent on the quality of migrated data. It also determines the security and compliance risks that come with test data.
Test Automation on Guidewire Cloud
Tools on the Guidewire cloud are extremely useful but lack the direct capability for agile test automation. One of the major roadblocks to it is the lack of proper TDM tooling that can provide test data and test environments faster. The automation framework lags behind, slowing down the DevOps cycle, partly due to its manual nature and partly due to a lack of available skills to handle Guidewire tools.
Custom tooling and customization to the Guidewire cloud are essential to enable test automation alongside better TDM. Data virtualization, synthetic data generation, and refresh cycle times are some areas where setbacks are experienced on default Guidewire toolsets. This is mostly due to the data migration challenges mentioned above and a general lack of control over environments.
SLK Software has worked on Guidewire cloud for Fortune 500 insurance businesses and has developed custom toolsets and customization approaches to Guidewire systems. This enables, along with other capabilities, exceptional TDM and test automation for insurers. Download our whitepaper on Guidewire Testing to know more about SLKs Guidewire solutions.
With the right mix of customization aligned with TDM strategy, DevOps cycles can be accelerated with efficiency gains of over 70%. Refresh times can come down to several hours (~6-7) from several days (~5-8), and overall test data storage can be reduced by 60%, to begin with. Provisioning environments can also be brought down to minutes instead of days.
These convert directly to cost savings and revenue growth by reducing operational complexities and time to market with an accelerated DevOps cycle. While Guidewire is built for insurers, the older technologies and dependencies on them hinder the true potential of the platform for its users. However, smart analysis and planned implementation can overcome most of these challenges until the dependency on legacy systems can be completely resolved.