A life insurance company boosts productivity 1,600 percent

Releases a new line 11 months early with DevOps approach and agile methodology

Published on 18-Dec-2013

"By using the DevOps approach, we have complete transparency across projects and sprints. And it all comes from one centralized system of truth." - IT director, life insurance company

Customer:
A life insurance company

Industry:
Insurance

Deployment country:
United States

Solution:
Agile Software Development, Application Design-Build-Manage, DevOps

IBM Business Partner:
Island Training Solutions, Inc.

Overview

This company provides life insurance services throughout the United States.

Business need:
This company needed to launch a new product line, including a new web portal, within 18 months; to meet this deadline, it decided to shift from waterfall to agile development.

Solution:
It used a DevOps approach to transform its organization from 100 percent waterfall development to 75 percent agile development.

Benefits:
The company increased productivity by 1,600 percent, enabling it to release the new product line and portal 11 months ahead of schedule.

Case Study

This company provides life insurance services throughout the United States.

Embracing agile development to meet tight deadlines
Several years ago, the life insurance company made an agreement with a large distribution company. Under the agreement, the organization would begin offering its life insurance products to the distribution company’s more than 130 member firms and their customers. The partnership was part of the life insurance company’s goal to increase life insurance sales by 260 percent to keep up with marketplace needs. As part of this agreement, the company needed to launch a new product line, including a new web portal, within 18 months. It decided to shift from waterfall to agile development to meet this tight deadline.

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Within seven months, the company converted 75 percent of its 8,000 employees and consultants to the new agile methods, gaining insight into development operations that was previously not possible. “By using the DevOps approach, we have complete transparency across projects and sprints. And it all comes from one centralized system of truth,” says the IT director.
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Creating an agile software factory
Working with small development teams of 5 to 10 people, the company used software factory principles, agile methods and a DevOps approach supported by IBM® Rational® software to transform its organization from 100 percent waterfall development to 75 percent agile development. The software factory entails five key steps: examining the product backlog, carving out a release backlog, creating a release sprint plan, executing the sprints and validating each release. The company used the DevOps approach to optimize the entire software delivery lifecycle. After each team identifies what it will be delivering for the month, it works to deliver continuously in 2-week sprints.

To support its agile method, the organization worked with IBM Advanced Business Partner Island Training Solutions, Inc. to implement a suite of IBM Rational software, including:
· IBM Rational Asset Manager software to create packages of assets to be pushed out as release candidates
· IBM Rational Build Forge® software to move packages to the test and production environments
· IBM Rational Requirements Composer software to gather requirements, prioritize them according to business needs and create requirements documents
· IBM Rational Team Concert™ software to collaborate within and across teams, share information, plan sprints and build and manage code

At the end of each sprint, testers thoroughly check new code. Test teams perform regression, quality assurance (QA), user acceptance and performance testing. The company uses the new processes for internal application development and also when deploying vendor-developed applications. “Vendors give us their code and we use the exact same process,” says the IT director.

Improving productivity by 1,600 percent
Within just seven months, the company converted 75 percent of its 8,000 employees and consultants to the new agile methods. The organization also completed and released its new product line and the web portal needed to fulfill its agreement with the distribution company in just seven months against the original 18-month plan—11 months ahead of schedule. The solution has also helped improve code quality. “We’ve never missed a release, and we’re always delivering value to our customer,” says the IT director.

In addition, the solution enabled additional life insurance premiums that increased revenue by USD2.8 million per month, as well as the development of a business and IT aligned strategic roadmap that led to the execution of a USD26 million portfolio of deliverables.

What’s more, the new methodology provides a level of insight into development operations that was previously not possible. “By using the DevOps approach, we have complete transparency across projects and sprints,” says the IT director. “And it all comes from one centralized system of truth. Transparency to stakeholders, to product owners and to the team where they can all benefit from that transparency.”

About the IBM DevOps approach
The DevOps approach is an enterprise capability for continuous software delivery that helps enable organizations to seize market opportunities, respond more rapidly to customer feedback, and balance speed, cost, quality and risk. By offering the right approach for incremental adoption, the IBM DevOps solution helps organizations deliver a differentiated and engaging customer experience, achieve quicker time to value and gain increased capacity to innovate. The DevOps solution uses an open-standards-based platform and a continuous feedback loop across the delivery process, and it’s designed to integrate into existing heterogeneous lifecycle environments to deliver value more quickly.

For more information
To learn more about how you can optimize the entire software delivery lifecycle, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: www.ibm.com/ibm/devops/us/en.

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
Rational Team Concert, Rational Requirements Composer, Rational Asset Manager, Rational Build Forge

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America December 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Build Forge, Rational and Rational Team Concert are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. The content in this document (including currency OR pricing references which exclude applicable taxes) is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The performance data and client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.