Business Critical Insurance
Broker Management Solution
ThoughtWorks helped an innovative insurance industry solutions
prov...
Business Critical Insurance Broking Solution
The primary challenge with building the product was the need                a...
Business Critical Insurance Broking Solution
to revisit the project roadmap and review certain requirements and        Cli...
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Insurecom Case Study

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Business Critical Insurance
Broker Management Solution
ThoughtWorks helped an innovative insurance industry solutions
provider to develop a highly complex broker management application
– agencyPlus. Built using Agile best practices across a distributed
65-person team, agencyPlus is an incredibly functionally rich, flexible
and scalable insurance broker solution.

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Insurecom Case Study

  1. 1. Business Critical Insurance Broker Management Solution ThoughtWorks helped an innovative insurance industry solutions provider to develop a highly complex broker management application – agencyPlus. Built using Agile best practices across a distributed 65-person team, agencyPlus is an incredibly functionally rich, flexible and scalable insurance broker solution. The Benefits The Client • Insurecom got an incredibly functionally rich, technically Insurecom believes that general insurance broking is being held back by the dominance of software complex application to market solutions that are built on ageing technology. Most broker systems are based on architectures years in a time that many thought was out of date, making it progressively harder for brokers to keep pace with the market. As the industry impossible. consolidates, the lack of scalable products for the new class of large, highly-distributed corporate intermediaries has opened up a significant opportunity. • Total transparency in development process ensured Insurecom’s goal is to become the market leader in developing and delivering truly innovative, total close collaboration and kept broker solutions for the UK and North American general insurance intermediary market. They want to the client constantly updated allow a forward-thinking broker to realise their full potential while lowering their cost of doing business on progress. and allowing brokers to adapt rapidly to changing market needs. Insurecom is based in Bermuda, with • Changes in requirements principal offices in the UK and Canada. were easily accommodated by using the most innovative Agile The Situation best practices. Insurecom was at risk of losing its 17% market share with its existing product offering in the UK. They were constrained by the limitations of their old platform and were limited by the lack of responsiveness to • ThoughtWorks approach to market needs from their existing software, which they distribute under a license arrangement. In addition, offshore development projects while Insurecom employs a large number of the industry’s leading software engineers, they did not have allowed the business and the the capacity in-house to develop a new product of this size and complexity. development teams to drive constant innovation throughout The Challenge the project. Insurecom wanted to build a brand new insurance broking platform that would offer a total solution to the growing sector of large, consolidating intermediaries who own multiple brokers over multiple offices. • Automating build and deployment and testing The new platform needed to offer end-to-end large corporate broker functionality, be flexible and provided helped maximize scalable, while benefiting from a robust Windows platform and cutting-edge technology. It had to offer efficiency and quality. brokers maximum efficiency gains and offer intuitive functionality to enable all departments to work within a single solution. The solution also had to offer a simple and effective method of integrating underwriting business, and allow simple yet high performance e-commerce facilities. www.thoughtworks.com
  2. 2. Business Critical Insurance Broking Solution The primary challenge with building the product was the need and the UK helped to ensure the highest levels of communication. to combine an offshore model in a highly collaborative way with Support and Evolution Insurecom’s experienced broker solutions team and in-house After the first release of agencyPlus, work continued on new developers. What’s more, Insurecom had no tolerance for failure on features for subsequent releases. Getting the first release out was the project; essentially developing a replacement solution for their critical and the feedback from customers and Insurecom team largest clients and prospects, as well as future-proofing the core of helped define the priorities for further releases, ensuring that the their business in a highly competitive landscape. latest developments reflected the latest needs of customers. Insurecom selected ThoughtWorks as a reliable partner to help get A dedicated ThoughtWorks support team resolved production the product to market as quickly as possible. issues as they occurred and regular (need-based) support releases Working Towards A Solution were provided while the major releases were in-progress. Insurecom and ThoughtWorks worked very closely together ThoughtWorks’ automated build and deployment pipeline practices throughout the project which consisted of the following phases: helped the team to manage several versions of the software Inception simultaneously. This helped ensure stability for Insurecom and its A combined Insurecom and ThoughtWorks team held a four-week customers while evolving the product. project inception in the UK and built a shared understanding of the agencyPlus vision and agreed detailed requirements. The team “Not only did we get a fantastic constructed a project roadmap and development plan in these first four weeks, as well as identifying and mitigating areas of technical product to market in a short time risk by undertaking “spikes” to glean a deeper understanding that embraces all the functionality of the situation and possible solutions. ThoughtWorks business our clients need, we are adding analysts stayed on-site at Insurecom for a further six weeks to unique functionality that reflect finalize requirements, while the initial development phase began in Bangalore. the latest changes in a rapidly evolving marketplace.” Development Phillip Walter, CEO, Insurecom The ThoughtWorks’ development team in India broke the project into a number of small iterations, tackling the most important and Client Benefits highest-risk areas of the system first. At the end of every week, A key feature of ThoughtWorks’ offshore software development the functionality that had been developed was “showcased” by process is the high levels of transparency into progress. This project videoconference to the Insurecom team. The Insurecom team was a massive undertaking for Insurecom and each week, a project reviewed whether the functionality was in line with their expectations review meeting was held to discuss how quickly requirements were and re-prioritized the functionality of the next iteration as needed. being delivered. Early on in the project, it was realized that the complexity of some of the requirements had been under estimated A great deal of focus was applied to making sure that and this threatened to push the project off-track. Instead of finding communication from the business to the development team and this out too late to address it, detailed weekly information about across the development team of 40 people worked as smoothly as how quickly the project was delivering against how quickly the team possible. Full use of WebEx and Instant Messenger was made and had expected to deliver helped make it relatively straightforward regular visits of ThoughtWorks and Insurecom staff between India www.thoughtworks.com
  3. 3. Business Critical Insurance Broking Solution to revisit the project roadmap and review certain requirements and Client Executive Quote priorities. Changes in scope and prioritization made sure that the Phillip Walter, CEO of Insurecom gives his perspective: “Industry project stayed on track and delivered against Insurecom’s business experts explained to us that it was not feasible to build a system objectives. with this breadth and depth of functionality from the ground up. We are competing with products that have taken years to develop, ThoughtWorks’ approach allows the easy accommodation of many of them over 20 years. Not only did we get a fantastic product change to suit changes in business priorities. Initially agencyPlus to market in a short time that embraces all the functionality our was being developed for small brokers. However, Insurecom found clients need, we are adding unique functionality that reflects the great interest in the product towards the end of the delivery cycle latest changes in a rapidly evolving marketplace. This includes from medium and large brokers as well, introducing more functional automated regulator compliance, automated business processes, and technical requirements. The product roadmap was easily transactions on-line with customers and partners, and new changed to deliver the new requirements in subsequent releases as innovative products to maintain competitive advantage. We are now priorities evolved. making the largest sales in the Company’s history. ThoughtWorks The Future has been an instrumental partner in the success of agencyPlus Released in April 2007, agencyPlus is unrivalled in the market in and helped bring our vision for an exciting and innovative product terms of breadth and depth, and has received excellent feedback to market. I will whole-heartedly recommend the ThoughtWorks’ from customers and staff alike. approach to anyone.” Insurecom is highly innovative and ideas-driven and is constantly searching for new ways to deliver value to its clients. During the ThoughtWorks is a registered trademark of ThoughtWorks, Inc. development process, Insurecom adopted ThoughtWorks’ Agile All other brand names, product names, or trademarks practices and philosophy. Insurecom and ThoughtWorks are now belong to their respective holders. working together on new and innovative features for agencyPlus © 2008 ThoughtWorks, Inc. All rights reserved. that will help maximize the competitiveness of Insurecom’s clients. www.thoughtworks.com

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