Insourcing, Mainframe Transformation Program and Self Service Workload Automation Help Leading Insurer Reduce Costs and Increase Agility
Unum is a Fortune 500 company and one of the world’s leading employee benefits providers to more than 170,000 businesses in the United States and the United Kingdom. As a leader in financial protection benefits, Unum provides disability, life, accident and critical illness insurance, helping protect the livelihood of millions of working people and their families in the event of illness, injury or loss of life.
Businesses have depended on Unum for many years to help them provide strong employee benefits packages while controlling benefit costs. To continuously maintain its leadership position, Unum is constantly reviewing how it can better serve the needs of its customers and quickly react to new business needs. Unum also regularly investigates ways to make its employees more productive and efficient, which helps support the company’s focus on excellent customer service.
Both customer service and Unum’s employees are seen as a competitive advantage. According to an independent study performed by Harris Interactive of nearly 1,300 Unum customers, 98 percent of Unum customers are likely to recommend the company to others, 94 percent give positive marks for overall quality and value, and 94 percent give positive marks to the customer service provided.
Enterprise Executive recently visited with Ron Tustin, the director of mainframe infrastructure at Unum, to learn about the company’s latest initiatives for continuing its success.
Enterprise Executive: Ron, what major initiatives has Unum recently undertaken that will help the company continue to reach its goals of maintaining excellent customer service and improved employee productivity?
Ron Tustin: We decided to focus on two major areas that we thought would have a significant impact in customer service and employee productivity. Since our mainframe is very much an integral part of our IT operations that support our business, we have implemented a mainframe transformation program. In addition, we have chosen to focus on areas where automation could improve our productivity. So, we implemented an automation project.
EE: Please tell us about your mainframe transformation program.
Tustin: We implemented our mainframe transformation program with the goals of continuing to improve service to our customers, increase our ability to serve changing business needs and optimally utilize our mainframe resources. In short, the mainframe transformation program enables us to take our mainframe environments that are separate due to mergers and acquisitions and run the mainframe environment as a cluster of mainframes in which any can service the work no matter what the business unit is. This will provide us a very highly available mainframe application environment. Before implementing the new program, we also made the decision to insource our mainframe engineering, operations and production control functions from the outsourced provider we were using, which gives us the ability to better manage all aspects of the mainframe transformation to ensure goals are accomplished.
EE: Why did Unum decide to insource its mainframe environment?
Tustin: For 10 years, Unum had outsourced its mainframe engineering, command center operations and production control staff. While outsourcing served the company’s requirements during those years, new business needs made it clear that we needed to thoroughly review whether continuing to outsource made sense or if bringing all the aspects for supporting Unum’s mainframes back in-house was better for us. Every company’s needs are different, but for us, we found the following financial and business benefits favored insourcing our mainframe operations.