As a relatively new insurance software company, we’re often met with questions about our size, our capabilities, our expertise or our staying power. We believe we provide good and sound responses to every question. As we consider those (and similar) questions in the context of our industry compatriots, we are reminded of, well, a circus.
There are lots of performances, sometimes all at once, with companies doing their best contortions to look good in every conceivable situation. There are performers that leave the crowd gasping, if only because of their price. There are small artists and rather large behemoths, each acting as though they are big, which only a few are, and each acting as though they were incredibly nimble, which only a few could be. They all, as people walk by, stand behind their ticket stand and shout promises about the performance inside the tent, and then resume shouting those promises as people leave. Incredibly, if one can stand back far enough from the crowd, they all sound pretty much the same and, in fact, they all look pretty much the same. Even the colors seem to be from the same palette. What is equally true is that very few of the acts are as good under the big top as the claims shouted from the ringmaster’s megaphone.
Which brings us to an obvious question: who do you trust? You call references (is it the full list, or a select few?), you check with industry experts or reviews, you hire consultants and advisors, etc. Even then, there is a foreboding sense that as thorough as the research and as discriminating the process, the project could fail. And failure is expensive. And time consuming. And stressful. If it is a dead in the water failure, then you get to go through it all again, because the need for new software didn’t go away, it was palliated by hope.
For many, the process of evaluating insurance system software incorporates the most defensible process possible under the circumstances. And the easiest of all defensible positions is to select an industry leader or well-recognized company with great marketing materials that demonstrate the software’s superior capabilities. Board members will have few questions when all sixty questions on the checklist are answered and the winning vendor is a company even they recognize. There’s no risk in that, is there?
But of course, there is risk. The best decision is not necessarily the one that has all the boxes checked with the selection based on industry ranking. The best decision is the one where there is a strong level of trust and confidence that the people you will work with will do everything in their power (and they have the power) to make it work. To do the right thing, not because of a company manifesto, but because that’s who they are as people.
How does one tame the circus? Stated differently, how do you set the sales pitch aside and know ‘who you trust’? Those people aren’t easily found in an online demo, a brochure or even a LinkedIn profile with lots of endorsements. You find them by getting to know them as human beings, not just as company representatives. You are drawn to them by their character and their earnestness, not by their charm. Those are the people with whom we want to do business, because those are the kind of people we want to be ourselves.