Headquartered in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Acuity is a personal and business insurance provider with revenues over $1.5 billion through 1,000 independent agencies in 26 states.
Acuity needed to improve its development process, as legacy applications had evolved into a siloed infrastructure. The application development required the complete rearchitecting of apps — or writing them from scratch — every time a new need arose, which made the process lengthy and tied up Acuity resources.
With the help of Sirius application development architects, Acuity transformed its application development process by leveraging a solution employing APIs and service-oriented architecture (SOA). Acuity acquired the IBM® Insurance Process and Service Models, and implemented a full SOA-based model to streamline and accelerate application development—including blueprints for how to architect their data, processes and services within the applications across the organization.
Sirius consulting resources worked on-site to help Acuity with the setup, installation, configuration and initial rollout of the overall solution. Sirius also provided complete API, integration and project management services. Working with the Acuity development team, Sirius helped to get the software and systems fully implemented; aided with the initial development work, and then got the Acuity team up to speed so they could take over ongoing development efforts. Acuity technical resources then contributed to this evolution by adding some of their own governance, change management and infrastructure guidelines.
So far, Acuity has moved dozens of applications that run hundreds of thousands of requests through the infrastructure per day. By the end of 2018, Acuity anticipates the new environment will support approximately 600 services processing an estimated 1.25 million requests per day.
Acuity has also seen a faster response time, and is able to push applications to market faster than they used to. Projects that would have taken hundreds or thousands of hours to develop and test now take tens or hundreds of hours in many cases.
Acuity has been able to build reusable components and deploy them throughout the new infrastructure, so when another application or request comes along and requests similar functionality, it’s fast and easy to reuse and customize code.
Acuity’s transformation has helped accelerate innovation and development of new products and services, thereby supporting the company’s business outcomes in a fiercely competitive market. Expanding into new markets and developing new products and services takes place faster and is more personalized. Customer service has improved dramatically as well.
Tom Braun, General Manager of Information Systems at Acuity, uses the perfect analogy to describe the new solution. “Basically, we’ve built a whole bunch of Lego blocks, so when somebody wants a new application, we just go into our box and quickly snap something together rather than building something from the ground up, like we used to.”
Marcus Knuth, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at Acuity added: “We’ve been able to create services that provide information such as when a payment is due, how much it is or what the status of a policy is. We can then extend it to our CRM team, to our agents through the agency portal, to our customers through the portal on acuity.com, and then to our mobile app. In the past it would have taken many hundreds of hours to put that in place, but now it’s just a matter of creating a user interface for whatever platform we want to extend, and connecting the dots.”