A Project Dilemma At Canadian Shield Insurance Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


            Canadian Shield Insurance Company is a subsidiary of the Assurance Centrale Company, which was acquired around 10 years ago. With this acquisition, the company got 600,000 clients in Alberta and also 20 years of experience. Canadian Insurance Company was established in order to provide the insurance for hunting and the fishing lodges in Alberta and later the company had also expanded to provide the insurance for property, automobile and commercial insurance.

In such market leading firms, the companies developed their competitive advantages on the basis of their information systems and their information databases. Since Shelf software was easily available in the market, therefore, the in-house team of these companies worked for their software developments in order to meet the specific information system needs of the company. Each of the companies had specific needs and therefore, there was nothing in the market that fitted with the specific needs of each of the companies.

Issue Identification

            Canadian Insurance Company had also been working on the development of such information systems software which has taken almost 5 years of the company and the career life of the manager of the IS department, Seamus Reynolds. The budget that had been initially set for the development of this software, which was named as Insurance Software Solution, had been allocated as the initial budget five times. However, now the in-house software development of the company was almost complete and the train the trainer and the beta testing sessions of this new information system had begun in the company.

The first impressions associated with the testing and the training of the new project seemed to be positive but after almost a 100 screens the underwriters of the company had become overwhelmed and frustrated by the fact that the software was too detailed and sophisticated. For instance, when an underwriter was using the previous Alpha IS, he had to just look at 3 screens in order to add a new vehicle to a policy however, under the ISS each of the underwriter had to look at around 17 screens and page through them.

Secondly, all the underwriters were accustomed to the COBOL language of Alpha and now streamlining and recoding the current user interface would take one more year. The testing phase of the ISS had also revealed many other issues and bugs. Significant amount of errors were reported and during this two week session around hundreds of fault reports were also issued. Furthermore, the employees of the company felt that the training for the new system had not been adequate. The project was deemed to be completed soon however, still there were many other costs that had to be incurred such as the costs associated with the fixing of the errors, training costs and the costs associated with the conversion of the Alpha system policies.

A Project Dilemma at Canadian Shield Insurance Case Solution

Seamus has became aware of another commercial offering, which seems to be attractive for this company and wants to go for it however, entering a dilemma that should he abandon the current ISS after a period of five years and over budgeting for Advance Insurance System, appears to be the best option. The new alternative might provide the company with some significant advantages as highlighted by the comparison of AIS with ISS in the case. Seamus needs to make a decision considering the fact that if he goes ahead with the AIS option, then it might have potential negative impacts for the careers of software development team and his own career and also if he decides to approach the new commercial offering how should he approach it.

Framework-Based Analysis

            First of all, before analyzing the available options to Seamus, another important issue also needs to be analyzed as described below.

Governance Model

 The board of the company had allowed the IT manager of the company to make an important decision for the company. According to the Weill and Ross governance model, the IT Monarchy style of leadership allows all the IT leaders to make the informed decisions. However, a more effective form of leadership associated with the IT could also be placed by the management in the form of IT leadership council consisting of the business unit CIOs and corporate CIOs............

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