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Dai-ichi uses the Now Platform
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Transforming workflows and customer experiences by connecting systems on a single platform

1

Single platform connecting 4,000 systems and 50,000 databases

50%

Less time needed in new applications development

66%

Cost reduction in new applications development


From on-premises groupware to cloud platform
Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Limited (Dai-ichi Life) was established in 1902 as the first mutual corporation in Japan’s insurance sector. Through a core ‘Customer First’ business philosophy, the company focuses on insurance products that meet shifting customer needs while contributing to local communities. In 2022, the company will celebrate 120 years of continued growth as a forerunner in the domestic life insurance industry in Japan.

Improving the quality of life for customers and employees is Dai-ichi Life’s mission. The company proactively embraces digital transformation to broaden its service portfolio and to revolutionize work practices.

Dai-ichi Life leads the industry in the drive to digitize operations and services. In 2016, the company pioneered now-standard InsTech solutions that combine insurance and technology. Open innovation with venture enterprises and start-up companies has generated successive revolutionary products and services based on medical big data analytics. Moreover, it has implemented the WorkSmart growth strategy to boost productivity of staff and operations company-wide.

In response to changes in the business environment, Dai-ichi Life has transformed its IT operations, switching from on-premises groupware to an integrated cloud-based platform and promoting the Dai-ichi NewNormal OneStepAhead WorkStyle (DNOW) initiative among employees.

“We are creating a new ‘worldview’ in which products and services can be provided in a timely manner in response to customer needs. We aim to achieve this through increased employee productivity by establishing an environment where all company data can be accessed any time via computer or smartphone,” says Eita Yoshidome, Line Manager, IT Operations Management Department of IT Business Process Planning Division, which is overseeing the DNOW project at Dai-ichi Life.

The optimal solution to achieve this new ‘worldview’ is ServiceNow’s cloud-based platform, ServiceNow® App Engine, which is at the core of the DNOW project. Migrating the groupware used by Dai-ichi Life employees in their daily operations to App Engine, the company aims for a paradigm shift in digital employee workflows.

Centralized systems and database management
Dai-ichi Life previously used on-premises groupware that supported various databases including mainframe data and processes for customers and contracts. Successive EUC systems (end user computing systems other than core business systems) were piled onto this infrastructure to manage, browse, and process information. More and more EUC systems were added over the years. The company currently uses approximately 4,000 systems and almost 50,000 databases.

“Many insurance contracts span 20 or 30 years and our customer base continues to grow, so the number of databases and supporting processing systems has burgeoned,” explains Yoshidome.

While the increase in databases and systems is a sign of business growth, as they continually increased it became apparent that employee productivity was on the decline.

“Individual systems and databases were not well connected, preventing adequate cross-functional process management and data utilization. Moreover, with 4,000 systems, simply searching of information was a headache,” says Kazutaka Chiba, Cloud Service Solutions Group Leader, Cloud Service Promotions Department, of Dai-ichi Life Information System (DLS), which handles system development, operation, and maintenance for Dai-ichi Life.

Motoki Miyazaki, Assistant Manager in Dai-ichi Life’s IT Operations Management Division, elaborates, "We had to open up a window for each new piece of information or each new system, which was highly inefficient.”

Conventional groupware was the optimal solution in some cases, where a business portal screen or ‘to do’ list had to be prepared for each business transaction. “The aim of creating a new structure where all information can be accessed in a single window or portal was a major driver behind the DNOW Project. Instead of the user searching for information, the system proactively provides data stored in a central database to the user, so that a single interface displays everything that needs to be done,” says Miyazaki.

Scaling operations using on-premises groupware was problematic, too. Yoshidome explains, “If we continue to add systems and databases, we need to invest substantial time and money to expand our hardware capabilities. This made me wonder if we could move to cloud-based groupware that facilitates timely and flexible expansion according to changing business needs.”

Increasing employee productivity
Another objective behind Dai-ichi Life’s groupware upgrade was to establish an environment where employees could access necessary business information from anywhere at any time.

The company already provides tools for remote working to employees on request, but the national WorkStyle Reform prompted Dai-ichi Life to facilitate a company-wide hybrid working model by issuing laptops and smartphones to almost every employee between 2018 and 2020. However, incompatibility of existing groupware defeated the purpose of distributing smartphones. Any new collaborative software needed to work on both smartphones and laptops.

One reason App Engine was selected as the foundation for Dai-ichi Life’s groupware was that it satisfied this criteria.

The key feature of App Engine is centralizing existing systems and databases to enable end-to-end business processing among multiple teams and departments based on data shared across the entire company. This feature greatly simplifies data access and processing by connecting all systems company-wide, including core systems and databases built on existing groupware.

The platform also boasts excellent UI/UX design and menu layout, enabling simple access to data required by the user. ServiceNow simplifies response to user needs via a variety of terminal devices, including smartphones and tablets.

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Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company Limited
CUSTOMER
Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company Limited
HEADQUARTERS
Tokyo, Japan
INDUSTRY
Insurance
EMPLOYEES
55,757
PRODUCTS
PRODUCTS
App Engine

WorkStyle Reform and increased employee productivity are key drivers behind the DNOW Project. Going forward, I hope to see the Now Platform leading to improved customer service.

Eita Yoshidome

Line Manager, IT Operations Management Department IT Business Process Planning Division

 

Easy development of new applications
On the frontline of the DNOW Project, developing and constructing new groupware for DLS, Chiba reflects,“ The first challenge was to address the fact that the architecture and application development approach differed for each piece of groupware we were using.” In April 2020, right before the platform development was to start, the schedule was delayed by a month due to the first state of emergency declared by the government in response to COVID-19. "By a twist of fortune, this provided a valuable learning period. ServiceNow’s unwavering support really deepened my understanding of the platform,” says Chiba.

The first year of the DNOW Project, 2020, saw the completion of the groupware portal—the gateway to the DNOW platform and to all systems. In the second year, the focus shifted to unifying all systems and databases so that all data can be accessed through the portal.

However, the company now needs to rebuild the business applications developed on the former groupware to run on App Engine. Incorporating some 4,000 systems, this task could take many years. Fortunately, the platform’s no-code/low-code App Engine is designed to minimize system development time.

App Engine’s no-code/low-code agile system development boosts inclusivity for users with no specialized programming knowledge or skills. Although it varies with system types and functions, time taken for development has been halved and costs reduced to one-third of what it would have been with conventional development.

Dai-ichi Life anticipates that App Engine will boost productivity by enabling simple system development by users.

“Users can also customize existing apps to suit their needs. For example, a user can specify data display prioritization to list only required items. We want staff to use the new system freely to suit their own jobs and tasks,” says Miyazaki.

Achieving better customer service
The systems developed with App Engine have already received a positive response from employees. Branch Bulletin, an online educational portal used for lifetime plan designers (sales roles) during team meetings, is one example.

“The DNOW project was officially launched in April 2020, but this was immediately followed by a state of emergency that forced the national workforce to work from home. We had to rush to develop a system that allows sales staff to view training materials at home,” recalls Miyazaki.

This system proved extremely popular, and the Branch Bulletin became the primary medium for dissemination of educational materials and information to lifetime plan designers.

Yoshidome adds, “ServiceNow’s biggest advantage is that  App Engine enables mutual participation in system development and boosts business growth. I had some initial concerns, but once I used it I realized just how simple creating a system could be. Actual system development required only two weeks, from preliminary investigations to release. While the migration is in progress, we would like to encourage greater utilization of it going forward. The project currently emphasizes the WorkStyle Reform and increases productivity. I hope both of these would lead to improved customer service.”

The possibilities of the DNOW Project are limitless.

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