Cost-Effectively Delivering a Mission-Critical Application into a Live IT Environment
July 21, 2020
The Shipowners’ Club (the Club) is a mutual marine liability insurer, providing protection and indemnity insurance for small and specialist vessels since 1855. The Club is a member of the International Group of P&I Clubs and works with more than 600 brokers globally to insure over 32,000 vessels across a range of operating sectors and geographical areas. The Club is one of 13 P&I clubs that make up the International Group, insuring over 90 percent of the world’s tonnage.
As one of the oldest P&I clubs, Shipowners’ understands what vessel owners need most from their liability insurance—stable premiums, tailored coverage and a swift, sympathetic response to claims. The Club works closely with their brokers and members to provide tailor-made insurance packages for each operator.
In 2014, the Club embarked on a project to modernize its applications, and in particular, its policy administration system—the IT foundation for the company’s business. To ensure the rewritten application would be delivered to the organization as smoothly as possible, the Club needed to test it extensively.
Because it’s a large program, automation of test cases was a key requirement to ensure the regression cycle could be automated and run overnight, thereby saving manual work. In addition, performance testing of the application would be important to ensure end users would not encounter performance-related issues while using the application. To meet these requirements, the Club needed to augment their testing resources.
“Previously, we were not getting the consistent results we wanted when we went live with IT changes,” says Mark Hamblin, Head of IT, The Shipowners’ Club, “and that was eating away at the organization’s confidence in our IT systems. We also felt we were taking up too much of our end-users’ time doing detail testing. We needed to find a way to cost-effectively deliver into our live environment changes that met our users’ requirements and made systems work as expected.”
Regarding their search for a consulting organization to augment their resources, Hamblin says, “We wanted to find a consultant who would adapt to our needs, be responsive, be able to handle a full range of testing types, and make the effort to understand our business so they could add value beyond the immediate assignment. Adrosonic demonstrated those qualities from the beginning.”
Adrosonic’s first assignment from the Club was therefore for additional testing. Adrosonic examined the Club’s new policy administration system and recommended approaches for functional testing, automation testing and performance testing. Also, based on the Club’s user requirements, system scale, number of users, and other factors, Adrosonic recommended tools for test management, defect tracking, automation and performance. Adrosonic successfully delivered on the requirement for automation of testing by delivering a reusable and scalable hybrid automation framework.
“We realized a significant unit cost benefit along with high-quality assurance by working with Adrosonic resources,” says Hamblin. “I’d estimate the savings in the cost of delivering comparable functions was on the order of 30 or 35 percent.”
Hamblin adds that although cost savings is an important reason for the decision to partner with an offshore firm, other factors matter as well. “The quality of the work must be as good or better than onshore quality, and the commitment to listen, adapt and deliver must be there. Adrosonic has shown themselves willing to do those things throughout the engagement.”
Adrosonic now does more than 85 percent of the testing for the Club and manages all aspects of the test process, including system testing, integration testing, database testing, and management information (MI) application testing. Says Hamblin, “Partly because of the testing work they’ve done, everyone in the organization is now much more confident that the changes we introduce will work as expected.”
During four years of working together, the Club’s requirements have changed and Adrosonic’s capabilities have evolved, leading to a stronger and more extensive relationship
—Adrosonic has evolved from an offshore partner to a strategic partner.
In that role, they researched the challenge of migrating insurance policy information, trading certificates and vital data from the legacy policy administration system to the new one, and proposed using an ETL tool as the best approach. Adrosonic also vetted ETL providers and recommended Talend as the best fit. Once the Club adopted that recommendation, Adrosonic proceeded to manage all phases of the Talend deployment, including planning, architecture design and development.
Other assignments Adrosonic has successfully completed include developing a Web-based MI application for the Club’s senior management, and the Club has now engaged them to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which will be integrated with the back-end underwriting application. Adrosonic will also be developing custom portals for insurance brokers in the near future, which will become a strategic application and competitive differentiator for the Club.
Making sure IT is a success factor
“Technology is playing a much bigger role in the insurance industry,” says Hamblin, “and it’s the source of much disruption. We’re focused on how to use technology to automate, reduce costs and deliver services via new channels. Clearly, leveraging technology is vital to any insurer’s continuing success, and we’ll be looking to Adrosonic to help us to deliver important applications and changes, hopefully long into the future.”
“Summing up the overall relationship, Hamblin says,
“We’re very satisfied with Adrosonic and the work they do for us. The real measure of satisfaction with a consultant is this: If you call them with an issue, can you be confident they’ll find a solution quickly? With Adrosonic, we have that confidence.”
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