SOA vs. Cloud-Based Services: Which is Evolving the Customer Experience?

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The answer might surprise you.

Evolving the customer experience to provide better solutions for insurers has already been a critical discussion this year. Insurers must adapt to policyholders’ and agents’ expectations for a more speedy, multi-channel experience. This need has given rise to greater innovations and advancements in producing structured document communications in high-volume batch with the flexibility to generate highly personalized documents on demand across any channel.

The most important development that’s making agility more than just a buzzword is the widespread adoption of service-oriented-architecture and cloud-based services.

First let’s define the two:

  • Service-oriented-architecture (SOA) is a flexible, modular approach to delivering IT services. IT is an essential foundation for emerging technologies like cloud. Plus, SOA provides significant advantages over current IT architectures. While it lowers costs, its primary benefit is the improvement in agility that it provides organizations, enabling them to respond to increasing rate of change occurring in nearly every business around the world.
  • Cloud-based services can be adjusted in real-time to match demand. When applied to an IT environment, it enables the development, delivery and consumption of cloud services. The cloud provides organizations with powerful business benefits beyond those offered by other remote IT services. In a cloud environment, the speed and flexibility of computing resources become available.

Beyond its appeal as variable-expense and cost-effective computing models, SOA and cloud-based services can enhance an insurers overall business performance as well as their customer experience. While having SOA provides significant advantages over IT architecture, it is essential to have it in place for technologies like cloud.

However, the methods in which this can be accomplished are quite different.

  1. While SOA is a flexible set of design principles used during the phases of systems development and integration that when deployed, will provide a loosely-integrated suite of services that can be used within multiple business domains, a cloud-based service is an internet-based computing solution where resources, software and information are provided to computers and can be shared.
  2. SOA delegates work to other parts of the system, either by the service provider or other business components. With that delegation, people can use the services without worrying about the implementation details and scalability. Most important, SOA services (similar to what Eloquence provides) can be shared by multiple applications and users, optimizing utilization of the implemented solution.
  3. The services in SOA mainly focuses on business. Each service may represent one aspect of the business. Combined together, these services consist of a single-platform solution which is good for an enterprise-wide solution. On the other hand, cloud-based solutions are layered according to multiple pieces of software stacked together.

Within the next few years, enterprise IT architecture will be inevitably changing and it is critical that companies remain efficient, flexible and cost-effective. The ability to adapt to these advancements will be problematic for insurers and companies dealing with document communications unless the proper communication solutions are in place capable of dealing with continuing technological advances and environmental changes.

Clearly SOA services are vital to have in place before looking into cloud-based services. However both services provide solutions that can benefit your business and ultimately improve the customer experience.

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