Following the early move of media apps and banking into the mobile arena, now the insurance industry is developing mobile technology as one of their key communication and service channels towards their customer. In the coming two months, Service2Media will present you with a series of stories, opinions, cases, whitepapers, interviews and webinars to sketch our views on apps and app development centers
Last week we explained that a user driven vision is key for your company’s app strategy. We explained that the insurance industry has interesting opportunities to service and engage their customers using mobile apps. These opportunities originated from several characteristics of the insurance processes and the maturity of the digitalisation in these organisations.
App development centre
The choice between in-house development and outsourced development for insurance companies is not a trivial one, but depends on a number of complex factors. Second, this choice is not a one-time choice but needs to be reconsidered when the situation changes, or it can even involve a gradual transition plan from outsourced to in-house development.
One of the possible outcomes of this evaluation is the setup of an app development centre; a complete in-house app development, deployment and maintenance ‘assembly line’. The centre is a special department within the company’s IT organisation, fully geared towards efficient production and management of apps.
By centralising the app development in-house in an app development centre, the insurance company creates an environment for robust app development:
- The development processes used will be scalable.
- Knowledge will be secured inside the company.
- The entire app lifecycle will fit completely within the company’s quality, risk and cost control environment.
Scalable development process
The development processes used for app development will be scalable in several ways. First, setting up libraries of components will make re-use of these components feasible. Basic functionality like communication protocols, encryption, authorisation and authentication, back-end connectors and CMS connections can be developed once and can be used whenever needed through the entire app portfolio of the enterprise.
Second, re-using these components will result in clear and common functionality for the end user that is shared across multiple apps. The user will recognise parts of the app easily and therefore the learning curve will be less steep.
Third, when components are created that interact directly with the end user, it is much easier to maintain the corporate design guidelines and keep a coherent appearance of the app portfolio. At the same time, changes in these design guidelines will propagate much easier through the app portfolio of the company.
Using these building blocks, the developer gets a powerful head start in developing new apps and the app creation efficiency increases.
Case Study: Achmea: Achmea’s App Factory
About: The app portfolio in the insurance industry is a widely discussed topic. This paper elaborates on the App Factory initiative at Achmea, a large Dutch insurance group, to execute their app portfolio strategy. To respond to this vision, Achmea introduced their own app center: The Achmea App Factory, a complete in-house app development and maintenance ‘assembly line’. The App Factory is a special department within the company’s IT organisation, fully geared towards efficient production and management of apps.
During the app development cycle, knowledge will be captured and employees will gain expertise. Knowledge about app development, automation of certain business processes, interfaces and data connectors, all will contribute to the accumulated knowledge and intellectual property inside the company, resulting in value increase.
Quality, risk and cost control
The in-house app development centre is an integral part of the company. The department’s interfaces will mainly be internal, simplifying the communication. The entire app lifecycle will match the company quality, risk and cost control environment.
Next week we will introduce app portfolios. What options does one have to setup, manage and maintain an app portfolio?
Besides our side of the story, we are also extremely interested in your own thoughts and opinions. We would love to learn your vision, remarks, comments on what we say and start a dialogue or a discussion with you on this subject. Feel free to contact us.