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.
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.
“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.
Increasing employee productivity
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.