Etera Mutual Pension Insurance Company needed to streamline its system maintenance. The company operated in a multi-supplier environment, which made change management, for instance, challenging and complicated. The solution was to phase out the multi-supplier model and entrust the entire system to a single partner instead. One of the reasons why the company selected Digia was its Microsoft expertise.
Cooperation has gone well. Digia is an important partner to us. We’ll continue to work together to develop our systems and processes.
Janne Ruuska, CIO, Etera
Client system, invoicing system, insurance management system.
These are the three cornerstones of Etera’s insurance business. They are built on five Microsoft-based systems that, before spring 2015, were managed by three different suppliers.
However, the multi-supplier model had come to the end of its road. Right off the bat, Etera’s Chief Information Officer Janne Ruuska mentions the clearest problems of the old operating model.
“It required simply far too many different agreements. In addition, change management was complicated. Now all three insurance-related systems have been integrated. If you want to change one system, it impacts on the other two as well. This meant that instead of making just one change request, we had to submit tickets to all our suppliers,” says Ruuska.
“We wanted a single supplier in order to keep the whole system under better control.”
As Etera’s system package was based on Microsoft products, it was vital for the chosen supplier to have expertise in them. Digia has this expertise. Other points in its favour were that it is a Finnish company and its service centre model made an impression on Etera.
“Digia was both relaxed and business-like. We were impressed by the operating model Digia offered to us and its robust expertise in Microsoft technologies,” says Ruuska.
The change process began after the selection of the new supplier. The transfer of knowledge from the old suppliers to Digia was not without its challenges.
“Orientation went well, but it was tricky to get the right people in the same place at the same time,” says Ruuska.
“Knowledge transfer is challenging because it happens at the theoretical level. At that point, the new people don’t have something to work on yet. Instead, they familiarise themselves with source code made by someone else. However, everything went well and the first version was completed on time.”
According to Ruuska, the knowledge transfer was carried out successfully thanks to patience and perseverance.
“Digia has good people who wanted to learn our system. And at the very beginning of the project, we ordered change requests. This facilitated the process, as it meant there was real work to be done.”
Although the documentation was in good shape, not all challenges could be tackled. Problems often arise later, after the change project and knowledge transfer have been completed.
“If the change request concerns some part of the system that no one has touched in several years, carrying out a change analysis remains challenging.”
Management of business-critical systems by a single partner doesn’t just facilitate internal work at Etera. Customers also indirectly benefit from the streamlining of the supplier model.
“We can now react more effectively to potential problems or change requirements. Thanks to this our customers enjoy uninterrupted service. Change requests are based on customer needs - how can we serve them better? Ensuring it all runs smoothly of course results in higher-quality customer service,” says Ruuska.
Etera already knows the next steps it will take with Digia. In the project, the company sought to team up with a long-term partner to tackle future challenges.
“Cooperation has gone well. Digia is an important partner to us. We’ll continue to work together to develop our systems and processes,” says Ruuska.