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AG Insurance improves efficiency and flexibility with BizTalk

AG Insurance has a longstanding tradition of collaborating with external partners such as banks and brokers who sell AG Insurance products. These partners need a direct connection to AG Insurance software to be able to draw
up contracts efficiently, so the insurer wanted to find a way to share information more easily. AG Insurance also wanted to start using external software packages faster
without becoming dependent on them. In 2011, after writing to multiple companies, AG Insurance opted to start collaborating with Codit. This IT partner supervised AG Insurance very intensively as a consultant and provided extensive training for the switch to BizTalk. This successful collaboration and knowledge sharing means AG Insurance’s IT department can now implement new integrations independently.

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AG Insurance improves efficiency and flexibility with BizTalk

  1. 1. Reference Case | AG INSURANCE www.codit.eu | info@codit.eu | tel. BE +32 3 844 31 72 | tel. FR +33 1 77 18 16 82 | tel. PT +351 21 3304403/4 1 AG Insurance improves efficiency and flexibility with BizTalk The client AG Insurance started operating in the region that later became Belgium in 1824. The organisation now has more than 3.5 million customers and is the market leader in the Belgian insurance sector. It employs around 4,400 people across various branches. AG Insurance has insurance products for private individuals, professionals, self-employed people and large organisations. Services include life insurance, indemnity insurance and all possible solutions for supplementary pensions. AG Insurance products are sold through independent Insurance brokers and Fintro agents, in BNP Paribas Fortis offices and via bpost bank. AG INSURANCE The challenge AG Insurance has a longstanding tradition of collaborating with external partners such as banks and brokers who sell AG Insurance products. These partners need a direct connection to AG Insurance software to be able to draw up contracts efficiently, so the insurer wanted to find a way to share information more easily. AG Insurance also wanted to start using external software packages faster without becoming dependent on them. The solution AG Insurance decided to stop integrating its individual systems manually and instead to switch to a standard approach based on Microsoft BizTalk Server (later BizTalk). In 2011, after writing to multiple companies, AG Insurance opted to start collaborating with Codit. This IT partner supervised AG Insurance very intensively as a consultant and provided extensive training for the switch to BizTalk. This successful collaboration and knowledge sharing means AG Insurance’s IT department can now implement new integrations independently. Referencecase www.aginsurance.be
  2. 2. Reference Case | AG INSURANCE www.codit.eu | info@codit.eu | tel. BE +32 3 844 31 72 | tel. FR +33 1 77 18 16 82 | tel. PT +351 21 3304403/4 fltr: Toon Vanhoutte, Integration Architect at Codit - Steven Van Meirhaeghe, I&O Middleware Techni- cal Analyst at AG Insurance - Dries Verbiest, IS Integration Architect at AG Insurance 2 “Codit supervised us perfectly throughout our switch to Microsoft BizTalk Server,” says Dries Verbiest, IS Integration Architect for AG Insurance. “Our internal processes run much more efficiently now. We used to program everything ourselves, which didn’t result in great flexibility. But thanks to BizTalk, we can now integrate new software packages in half the time it used to take us.” Steven Van Meirhaeghe, I&O Middleware Technical Analyst for AG Insurance: “We can start projects or collaborations with new partners much faster now too. It’s made us a much more flexible organisation. BizTalk makes the information we share a lot more traceable too – extra security.” A total of around 4,400 people are employed by insurance company AG Insurance. The internal IT department has 600 employees. So it’s a big IT team, which until recently did all its own software development. AG Insurance has a longstanding tradition of collaborating with external partners such as banks and brokers who want to draw up AG insurance contracts using their own IT systems, so both parties’ software applica- tions need to be able to exchange and synchronise information. AG Insur- ance also wanted to do less of its own development: ‘buy before build’. The aim was to be able to start using standard software packages easily with an efficient link to the existing environment. This approach also means the organisation works independently of the software purchased. No more time-consuming testing “We used to invest lots of time in our own development,” explains Dries Verbiest. “And there was no standard approach – different teams had their own working methods, which made managing the whole environment much more laborious. It took a long time to test each new application and build interfaces manually. This has been halved by BizTalk now, depending on the project of course. Costs have therefore also been halved. The devel- opment and maintenance costs are much lower with BizTalk than with our own developments too, and a generic approach means we can often re-use components. Now that we’re spending less time on development work, we have more time to focus on the business side of things, analyses and quality.” Abstract interlayer Microsoft BizTalk Server now forms an abstract interlayer that links the IT environment to its external partners and their software packages without interfering with existing technology. BizTalk does the conversion work between the various IT languages, both as far as the content is concerned – for example the fields in insurance forms - and with regard to the technological code. AG Insurance employees, partners and customers can all benefit from the integration channels that BizTalk provides. Some data is continuously synchronised for online services, with other synchro- nisations running in the background or at night. Benefits • 50% less time and costs required to integrate and start using new software • Extra transparency and visibility through BizTalk monitoring • Security based on international industry standards • More time for analyses and quality • Standardisation and improvement of internal processes • More efficient collaboration with external partners • AG Insurance can now respond to new requirements and requests more flexibly • AG Insurance can now implement new integrations independently thanks to the intensive knowledge sharing with Codit consultants
  3. 3. Reference Case | AG INSURANCE www.codit.eu | info@codit.eu | tel. BE +32 3 844 31 72 | tel. FR +33 1 77 18 16 82 | tel. PT +351 21 3304403/4 3 BizTalk has another positive effect on working methods. It brings consistency to the whole environ- ment, so integrations are now always unambiguous via BizTalk. Clarity and uniformity triumph. Standard software the most profitable option “Our decision to stop programming all our own software means that we now always check first to see if there is a package available on the market that meets our requirements,” says Steven Van Meirhaeghe. “We also check to see which option is most beneficial – also in terms of maintenance. It’s clearly more profitable to purchase standard software for our integra- tion layer; it’s easier to collaborate with other companies with standard software, and easier to find consult- ants who know the technology well too. BizTalk has also been developed in .NET, so we can re-use lots of our existing .NET framework, and we also don’t need to resolve ‘out-of-the-box’ needs with Extensibility in .NET. We’re a Microsoft-oriented company, so the choice for BizTalk was obvious. Building our own integration layer to that standard would certainly be a very difficult task.” “MicrosoftBizTalkServerisacomplete integration package which has already proven its quality and stability extensively,” adds Toon Vanhoutte, Integration Architect for Codit. “It’s been around for more than 14 years and is implemented worldwide with a very large and varied customer base, so any teething problems were resolved a long time ago.” Intensive supervision and knowledge transfer AG Insurance collaborates with Codit - who mainly took the lead as consultant in this project - at all levels for the BizTalk project, from software teams to infrastructure architects. Everything took place in consultation, and Codit supervised the implemen- tation using its own methodology and best practices. “We were here almost all the time to start with, then that became once a week, and now someone visits twice a month,” says Toon Vanhoutte. “Following this intensive knowledge sharing and four training sessions, the AG Insurance IT department was able to continue the implementation independently.” AG Insurance is also very happy with these training sessions. “When we “The integration of each new application used to require a long time to test and build interfaces manually. This has been halved by Microsoft BizTalk now, depending on the project of course. Costs have therefore also been halved. The development and maintenance costs are much lower with BizTalk than with our own developments. And now that we’re spending less time on development work, we have more time to focus on the business side of things, analyses and quality.” Dries Verbiest, IS Integration Architect at AG Insurance
  4. 4. Reference Case | AG INSURANCE www.codit.eu | info@codit.eu | tel. BE +32 3 844 31 72 | tel. FR +33 1 77 18 16 82 | tel. PT +351 21 3304403/4 4 recruit a new member of staff, we send them to Codit for 4 days’ training as standard,” says Steven Van Meirhaeghe. “Codit offers much more than just the standard training too,” adds Toon Vanhoutte. “We base ourselves on our own experience built up in projects. When we’re already familiar with the client, as in this case, we know exactly which aspects we need to look at, so we can make optimum use of our time.” Futureproof work AG Insurance can always call on Codit with specific questions about BizTalk when it can’t immediately find an answer itself. Steven Van Meirhaeghe: “We can always reach Codit when we need help or advice, and we’re always given a correct answer. They visit regularly to see what else can be improved. Because Codit is up to date with news from the ‘BizTalk Community’ and has direct contact with the Microsoft product team as a Microsoft Gold Partner, we always get good advice. Its BizTalk and integration events are also very interesting. They show for example what latest versions have to offer, so that we can work in a futureproof way, without having to do all the leg work ourselves.” “Codit always gives us correct answers to our questions.” Steven Van Meirhaeghe, I&O Middleware Technical Analyst at AG Insurance www.aginsurance.be “We base our training sessions on our own experiences built up in projects. When we’re already familiar with clients, we know exactly which aspects we need to look at.” Toon Vanhoutte, Integration Architect at Codit fltr: Dries Verbiest, IS Integration Architect at AG Insurance - Steven Van Meirhaeghe, I&O Middleware Technical Analyst at AG Insurance

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