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How one large insurance provider used DevOps to drive its digital transformation

Introduction: Transforming the technology and business organization

One of the largest providers of insurance services in Argentina and Latin America reached out to Belatrix as it started its digital transformation. In order to be able to respond to its customers faster, and deliver the new services it needed to grow its business, the provider’s management realized it had to transform both the technology and business organization.

Challenge: An overly complex IT environment was holding back its business

This organization delivers mission-critical and technically complex insurance services in more than 70 countries. Services range from traditional home and household insurance policies, to providing cutting-edge fraud prevention services to commercial clientele.

The challenge was that, with a long and proud history, its technology environment had grown increasingly complex. Applications had grown in size and complexity, as more and more features had been added over time. This meant it took the organization longer to deliver new services, and there was difficulty maintaining the performance of its existing services.

At the heart of what executives wanted to achieve was to increase the frequency of its deployments into the production environment, and improve the performance, resilience, and availability of its online tools and applications.

Solution: Transforming its technology environment to microservices

The project started by implementing DevOps practices, where developers and operations professionals work closely together in cross-functional teams. The idea here is that by creating one team with a common goal, you reduce communication problems, and improve the speed and quality of software development.

The company then started in its transition from having large monolithic applications to a microservices environment. Microservices are a modern, smaller software architecture, where the full application is put together using smaller independent parts. These different services then communicate via APIs. Belatrix helped the company to create a microservices environment running in GNU/Linux using container technologies. The company also implemented continuous integration and continuous delivery practices so that it could rapidly release work into a Kubernetes Cluster, which was hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud.

The combination of DevOps together with moving to a microservices environment, meant that the company could now automatically deploy to the cloud using infrastructure as code, a core DevOps practice. Teams in the company used the communication tool, Slack, to rapidly identify areas for improvement and prioritize workloads. This meant the enterprise was able to respond faster to market changes, and to demands from its customers for new services, or fix issues with its current service offerings. It became a more nimble and flexible business.

What it means

By looking to best practices for its digital transformation, this organization was able to quickly transform its business and technology environment. It can now enable deployments automatically and on-demand. It has created a high availability, resilient, and scalable microservices environment, so it can handle changes in customer demand. The success of this digital transformation reflects the importance of looking to industry best practices, and taking a pragmatic approach. Executives at the organization had a clear understanding of the challenges in their current business, and understood that both DevOps and transitioning to microservices would enable it to compete more effectively in a digital-first world.

Technologies involved

The technologies involved include:

Microsoft Azure, ACS-Engine, Azure Container Service, Terraform, Ansible, GNU/Linux, Docker, Kubernetes, Powershell, Yeoman, Redis, CosmosDB (MongoDB), Git, SonarQube, Visual Studio Online, Grafana, InfluxDB, NGINX, Heapster, Slack.

Find out more about Belatrix’s DevOps services here.

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