Re-evaluate Assumptions before Investing in Suite of IT Products

Robert Lewis, SVP & CIO, Assurant, Inc.

Robert Lewis, SVP & CIO, Assurant, Inc.

Several Microsoft products are already in use in our environment, and adoption is growing at Assurant. Now we are defining a  way forward that leverages existing and other key technologies, including Dynamics CRM to Office 365 to Cloud enablement.  With this platform in place, products can work together and  replace multiple-point solutions. While a smaller set of  solution providers does create risk, the benefits can far outweigh the tradeoffs if managed properly.
"While a smaller set of solution providers does create risk, the benefits can far outweigh the tradeoffs if managed properly"

Before you sign on the dotted line, however, and invest in any suite of IT products, it is critical to evaluate, reevaluate  and test, your assumptions.

Admittedly, this advice is not earth shattering. Even so, it is amazing how often and how many things can be easily  overlooked in the rush for efficiency, cost savings and the latest technology advancements.

Due diligence must be more than an item on your checklist. It must be embedded into your culture and as thorough as a virus  scan searching for the most inconspicuous threats. It requires critical thinking, thoughtfulness and—yes—time. You need to  consider the different business units, local compliance, implementation and rollout requirements. Also you need to ask the  right questions as your assumptions may be correct, but what if they are based on information gathered to answer the wrong questions?

We ran into this challenge when we were evaluating Office 365 licensing options for our more than 17,000 employees at  Assurant. One licensing option, which provides basic Microsoft Office Suite capabilities d e e m e d suitable for most users, it seemed like it would be sufficient to meet our call center staff’s needs. It was not until we began examining compliance  requirements that our assumptions were quickly proven wrong. We hadn’t looked at the situation from all angles. Preliminary  analysis focused on the functionality of the tools, not on compliance requirements for accessing customer data. Luckily, the  due diligence process eventually did surface this consideration and were able to go with a licensing option that met all our
business needs.

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