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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Insuring Better Service Through SOA-Based Services

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Sandy Carter reports that AFLAC, the large Georgia-based insurer, is employing service-oriented architecture practices to bring new services online faster and better manage existing services to customers, shareholders, and employees.

The Web has raised everyone's expectations about access and service delivery, and AFLAC needed to meet the challenge. However, the insurer's IT infrastructure was ill-equipped to accommodate the changes. That's one of the greatest challenges for this industry, in fact -- many insurance companies run operations on mainframes that are up to three decades old. They still perform well for their intended purposes, such as claims processing, but it's difficult to open up these systems for new types of functionality, such as letting customers track the progress of a claim.

The response was to implement an open-standards-based, services-oriented architecture that enables it to bring services online faster, Sandy says, "keeping employees, sales associates and customers connected and informed - with less extensive development efforts."

The solution, a flexible middleware platform, enables AFLAC to reengineer existing application functionality into modular, portable Web components that can be reused, thus simplifying the development and integration of new online services.

"By extending legacy data to the Web, AFLAC dramatically shortened the time it takes to issue new insurance policies. Instead of taking days to issue new policies, it takes just hours. As a result, the revenue flow from policy premiums begins much sooner, optimizing business returns."

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I would like to send out a survey on SOA for my thesis paper. It would only take about 10 minutes to complete and trying to get broad audience participation. Please let me know if you can support.

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more


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