Page 3: Planning
At Independent Insurance, it was decided to develop an information system which would cover more insurance processes than any other workflow and image system currently implemented by any other insurance company in the UK. The system would use a central scanning facility to capture paper documents and then allow them to be sent electronically to individuals, rather like an E-mail system. Captured documents would be held in electronic filing cabinets, where they would be accessible for the workbaskets of individuals and groups/sections within the business. ‘Workbaskets’ is a term used to describe files storing work on the system which need to be handled.
After taking into account the sort of work which would be handled by the new system, it was decided to call it APACHE. The name was chosen from a staff competition. Implementing the new system was a major change to the business and therefore good communications with all staff, involving them as much as possible, was an essential part of the process.
A number of different factors determine the development of a new information system. The design of the system must be coupled with a good understanding of the needs of the users, such as what information they require and in what form they require it. It is also important to know what the users do with the information. Keeping the system user-friendly is very important - it must be accessible to everyone. Other necessary decisions include the level of investment in the system and the components of the investment, such as the choice of the supplier and the cost of training. Reliability, performance specifications and flexibility are also key criteria. The new system at Independent Insurance would be critical to the smooth-running and efficiency of the business.
Such analysis helped Independent Insurance develop the best possible design for its information system. After much discussion and taking the various criteria for the best technical fit into account, decision makers at Independent Insurance opted for a system which provided the best all round IT solution for the activities of the company.