communities for the emergency services community back in
the late 1990s, although there wasn’t corporate support for it
at the time. Beyond that, though, we really did some amazing
things. I’ve highlighted the major ones below.
K We produced a strategy and eliminated legacy and carrier
solutions and replaced them with state-of-the art applications to improve speed-to-market and customer service,
including policy administration and rating, corporate
financials (GL, AP, purchasing, etc.), CRM, billing, agency
management, imaging/workflow, enterprise documents,
and corporate data warehouse.
K A separate technology plan was developed for the infrastructure, moving from a few traditional legacy servers
and an undersized AS/400 to one centralized data center
for all operations with complete broadband connectivity
supporting 11 regional offices and more than 20 in-home
offices for sales executives.
K Glatfelter became an early adopter of server virtualization with
more than 80 percent of our 200-plus servers virtualized. Recently, we implemented desktop virtualization in our Houston
office and China outsourcing facility with full roll-out in 2014.
K We implemented a storage area network to control storage
costs, deploy virtual storage, and create redundancy.
K GIG canceled its contract with SunGard and implemented a
disaster recovery and business continuity plan and procedures.
We included a complete failover capability between our York,
Pa. office and our Stockton, Ca. office, taking advantage of replication and mirroring and snapshots of data hourly throughout the day and overnight, eliminating the need for outsourced
disaster recovery, tape transfer, etc. Similar recovery capability
was implemented between our two retail agencies.
K Glatfelter’s first data warehouse was built in 1999 to
experiment and learn what information could be made
available then and how the users might benefit from that
information. The data warehouse was completely rewritten
and rearchitected several times to enable deeper drill-down
capabilities, incorporation of productivity information from
imaging, claims and policy administration systems, user
control over reports, and deep data analytics.
K An Agents’ Technology Advisory Council was created and
was made up of key independent agents and brokers from
Glatfelter’s various programs to design and implement our
agents’ portal with bi-directional electronic functionality based
on the priorities established by the people who would be using
it regularly. Products, forms, policies, policy/billing/claims
information, renewal applications, endorsement requests, broker statements, et.al. are all available electronically through the
portal. GIG recently introduced upload/download between
their agency management systems and the back-end systems.
K GIG implemented an enterprise document management
system, automated workflow, and paperless processing in
underwriting and claims. This solution generated an imme-
diate 20 percent productivity improvement.
K As a result of GIG having no formal strategic or collaborative
annual planning process, a plan was implemented to align the
IT division and its priorities with each business unit. Strate-
gic, long-term plans were developed to put an infrastructure
in place to support the future needs of agents, brokers, and
business units. Tactical plans are now developed annually
after meeting with each business unit to ensure that IT is
focused on the priorities of the business. Open change-man-
agement processes including management from the business
side were put in place to improve transparency and awareness
of technology changes across the company.
K IT designed and implemented a corporate governance com-
mittee and a process at the senior management level to ensure
alignment of technology and business efforts and commitment
to technology projects. In addition to setting priorities, the
committee monitors results and measures and assesses success.
K Glatfelter has implemented SaaS/cloud solutions for three
“non-differentiating” applications: Oracle Financials Suite, ADP
payroll processing, and Proofpoint’s firewall and spam filtering.
K Given the concern over security and breaches, GIG created
and implemented an incident response plan at for handling
and reporting any type of security breach. That plan was an
outgrowth of regular security audits and penetration tests
conducted both internally and by external consultants.
K With our marketing department, we designed and imple-
mented a social media plan for various programs and our
corporate presence. We introduced a social media policy as
part of the plan.
K In early 2013, GIG outfitted and implemented an innovation
lab for use by IT developers and business unit representa-
tives to experiment with new technologies and to develop
solutions to enhance business processes or to create new
functionality for use by GIG in serving customers.
From a technology perspective, Glatfelter has successfully
transformed from that traditional MGA with a single major
program to a growing company with a national presence and
an infrastructure to support any future acquisitions or organic
growth. The company is well positioned to do more and has
built its application portfolio and infrastructure while keeping
expenses under control and at a percentage of premium that
beats the average.
I feel especially proud that I was able to steer the ship during the
past 16-plus years and move the company to where it is today. As
stated in the beginning, GIG has an infrastructure and systems portfolio that any primary company of similar size would envy. ITA
(Wayne Umland retired as executive vice president and
Chief Information Officer of Glatfelter Insurance Group
on December 31, 2013. He is currently consulting and
can be contacted at email@example.com. His
website is www.umlandconsulting.com.)
much more th
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