(Charlie Hanna. Source: Hyland.)
Earlier this month Hyland launched integrations for its OnBase flagship product and Duck Creek’s Policy and Billing solutions. The new integrations complete the set of accelerators for Duck Creek’s core system components, adding to its existing accelerator for Duck Creek Claims, which debuted in late 2019. In some respects, the news was just the latest announcement of pre-integrations between vendor partners. However, it is especially interesting at a moment when core system vendors are making rapid progress toward a platform paradigm—of which the integration of their ecosystem partners is an essential feature. It is interesting also as an example of two vendors who have successfully moved with the times and who somehow combine the virtues of innovative technology companies with Midwestern candor and reliability (though Duck Creek moved to Boston from its original location in Bolivar, Mo.). To explore the launch of the new integrations and its implication for insurance platform ecosystems, Insurance Innovation Reporter sought out a conversation with Charlie Hanna, Hyland’s Senior Alliance Manager.
Insurance Innovation Reporter: Tell us a little about Hyland’s relationship with Duck Creek, and how this represents a milestone.
Charlie Hanna, Senior Alliance Manager, Hyland: Obviously we have partnerships with other vendors, but this is the one I look back on to where we built some of our chops. Early on, we were working with HP Exstream and Duck Creek, discussing how we could make our solutions work together long before anybody was building pre-integration accelerators. The other thing special about the relationship with Duck Creek is their understanding of the partner ecosystem. We’ve had the opportunity of supporting Duck Creek closing their deals by highlighting the partner ecosystem. We have represented with them on a number of core system deals—some Hyland deals, some net new customers of Hyland. Duck Creek really gets the ecosystem concept.
Getting to market with the accelerators took a little longer because of Duck Creek going through ownership changes, but we’re there now. In the fourth quarter of 2019, we sold our first deal with a customer using the Anywhere Managed Integration for policy, billing and claims. That solution is currently being implemented. We plan to have more deals close before the end of 2020.
IIR: Why are accelerators so important? What do they represent as a feature of the emerging platform paradigm?
CH: From a Hyland perspective, anytime we can put something in front of a customer with the validation of being mutually supported by both software companies, it gives peace of mind that there’s some mustard behind it rather than something put together hastily. In the case of these accelerators it’s not just that we have simplified and repeatable integration, but that we have all the components for it. We have a pretty good idea of what the metadata is going to be for the lion’s share of these integrations. We’re able to get people there more quickly. Also, we have advantage of people trained in Duck Creek, just as they have experts trained in OnBase. We have experience in a solution that stands head and shoulders above the alternative.
IIR: How does this kind of integration improve existing approaches to implementing OnBase?
CH: It goes back to phraseology Hyland started using in the insurance vertical practice: the magic is that we provide the content in the context of where it’s needed in the core system. It removes the manual task of searching for things. You have the advantage of being able to configure the way that information is presented, so that if a knowledge worker likes getting info in a consolidated folder, you can present them with that. Think about a manageable hit list you can break down and reconfigure on the fly any particular way. The point is that the experience can be prescriptive to the unique user, but all of them have access to the same specific info but delivered to them in a way they prefer.
The other thing that makes this magic is consistency of data. Gone are using lookups and indexing off the core system. Everything is tied to the record consistently. If you think about how data comes into an insurance company, whether through centralized mail room or inbox, it usually requires some input on how it needs to be routed. Wherever it comes in to OnBase, it knows where to go. There’s minimal to no data input required.
IIR: How does the partnership with Duck Creek exemplify Hyland’s overall approach to the emerging platform paradigm for insurance systems?
CH: Hyland is referred to as an industry leader because of its strong industry expertise and experience. That’s because we’re very active in this regard. We have partnerships with top-two insurance core/platform vendors, Guidewire and Duck Creek. Both partnerships have accelerated implementation projects. They’re very different companies, but we have strong relationships with both.
In the future, you’ll see Hyland going to a place with future releases where it won’t matter whether the core system provider is Majesco, Insurity, Sapiens, etc. We have done integrations with all of those—though don’t necessarily have accelerators for each—and I think going forward the ability to integrate and interact with any number of core systems will become an easier for our customers. Until that time, we are working aggressively with insurance systems vendors of every flavor, from core system to InsurTechs—we’re constantly seeking to expand our partner ecosystem.
IIR: It seems as if there are a couple of ways at looking at vendors getting on the cloud/insurance platform/API/software-as-a-service bandwagon. On the one hand, vendors may need to desperately get on board with technological changes to remain relevant. But on the other hand, given how proactive Hyland has been in pursuing these pre-integrations, the platform paradigm is just going to make is easier to do what you’ve been doing perennially in your vendor partnerships.
CH: I think it is a little of both and will continue to be for a while. Hyland is working towards a future where micro-services in the cloud will be the norm but we expect the transition for our customers to take some time. Today we work closely with our partners from a product development perspective ensuring that we are creating the best platform integrations today as well being mindful of our development paths of tomorrow. The future for the solutions in insurance will be very exciting as the market pivots and underwriting models change. Hyland with its partners look forward to leading the conversation about what’s ahead.