By CYRIL TUOHY, managing editor of Risk & Insurance®
LAS VEGAS -- Technology experts on Tuesday said workers' comp and disability managers should demand that vendors speak in plain English when discussing the latest computing hardware and software.
"Don't let the technology people bamboozle you," said Ken Eichler, New York-based director of government and insurance services for the Reed Group. "Make them speak on your terms and make sure they understand your needs."
Eichler spoke as part of a preconference symposium on new technologies designed to improve workers' comp and disability management.
As he spoke, technology and software vendors were busy setting up shiny new booths on the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 20th Annual National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo.
Plain old-fashioned English trumps technobabble no matter how fast technology develops, or how efficiently it can administer a workers' comp claim. "Challenges to implementing new technology is information technology doesn't speak English," said Robert Wilson, president and CEO of the website workerscompensation.com.
Take "the cloud," for example, an expression to describe the existence of computing services on servers residing outside local corporate networks.
Cloud computing has several advantages for workers' comp and disability managers. The cloud lowers the cost of technology. It allows managers to scale up, or down, computing operations based on demand.
The cloud also allows managers to access data from disparate locations using different hardware like smartphones, tablets or desktop machines.
With the cloud, "the office is never turned off," Wilson said. Best of all, Eichler said, is that companies don't have to give up their data even when they resort to cloud-based computing.
There are public, community, hybrid and even private clouds, said Robert G. Petrie 3rd, president of Origami Risk, a vendor that takes advantage of cloud-based computing.
Insurance carriers, for whom data is one of the few competitive advantages they hold, are not yet ready to adopt cloud-based computing, but more carriers are looking at it, Petrie also said.
Technology companies, said Sandy Blunt, vice president of insurance services for Tustin, Calif.-based Medata Inc., are getting better at integrating hardware, software and services to make for a seamless computing experience.
November 9, 2011
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