AG Insurance

AG Insurance Slashes Development Time in Half, With Massive Cost Savings

New data integration platform helps AG Insurance drastically save development time and gives added value to their extensive reseller network.

  • Expertise in this case
Executive Summary

AG Insurance uses Microsoft BizTalk Server to accelerate the process of integrating their back-end to the IT systems of their reseller network, cutting development time in half and saving on development costs. This provides added value to their resellers, who can then offer their customers with exceptional service. AG can now focus on improving their business processes.

  • Challenge
  • Approach
  • Results

Challenge

AG Insurance has an extensive external partner network who resell AG products to customers. Digital contracts are drawn up by the partners in their own systems. These contracts then need to be synchronized to those in AG’s systems.

However, each partner has their own IT system which needs to be manually integrated to AG’s back-end. Because there was no standard platform to work from, development could take up to 500 days of development time.

AG wanted to drastically reduce development time by using a standardized data integration platform. This new solution would seamlessly onboard new partners and ensure fast service times to existing partners.

They realized they needed experts in data integration to help them find the right solution – so they called in Codit.

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AG Insurance has an internal IT department of 600 employees, which until recently did all its own software development. “We used to invest lots of time in our own development,” said Dries Verbiest, IS Integration Architect, AG Insurance.

“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.”

AG Insurance wanted to do less of its own development with a new ‘buy before build’ policy. Their aim is to use standard software packages that can easily link to the existing environment.

Codit supported us perfectly throughout our switch to Microsoft BizTalk Server. We can start projects or collaborations with new partners much faster now. It’s made us a much more flexible organization.

Dries Verbiest Integration Architect Manager, AG Insurance

Approach

Microsoft BizTalk Server seamlessly links AG’s IT environment to the IT systems of their external business partners. BizTalk is a standardized platform upon which the integrations are built. By using the same blue print each time development time is drastically reduced.

Codit helped AG implement the solution and supported their IT team by providing in-depth BizTalk Server training to AG’s IT staff.

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Microsoft BizTalk Server was built to form an abstract interlayer which seamlessly links their IT environment to external business partners’ systems. It has the added value of not interfering with existing technology – ensuring a smooth transition.

BizTalk does the conversion work between the various IT protocols, for both the content —such as the fields in insurance forms — and the code itself.

“It’s clearly more profitable to purchase standard software for our integration layer; it’s easier to collaborate with other companies with standard software, and easier to find consultants 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,” said Steven Van Meirhaeghe, I&O Middleware Technical Analyst for AG Insurance.

Codit provided intensive BizTalk training for AG’s IT team, beginning with an almost fulltime presence at their offices, then reducing this to once per week, then twice per month, as the IT team gained knowledge and confidence in the new software.

AG continue to send new employees to Codit for a 4-day intensive training to get them up to speed with the Microsoft integration platform.

Results

The BizTalk integration platform makes it exponentially easier for AG Insurance to collaborate with new and existing external partners. This means that their resellers can offer customers exceptional service.

AG Insurance have also seen a 50% reduction in development time and an increase in cost savings thanks to their new integration solution.

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AG Insurance continue to look to Codit for guidance and advice for future proofing their tech stack. “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,” said Steen Van Meirhaeghe “Their BizTalk and integration events are also very interesting. For example, they show what latest versions have to offer, so we can work to future-proof our systems, without having to do all the leg work ourselves.”

A word from the client

“Thanks to Codit, we can now integrate new software packages in half the time it used to take us. 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 Integration Architect Manager, AG Insurance

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