Experts in new Microsoft technology

Cloud transition: technology is the easy part.

Following 90 years of successful business, the company has a strong track record of providing high-quality services focused on convenience and customer care. In its drive to optimize customization and speed of information provision, the company wanted to reduce the time to market of its services while at the same becoming more agile and innovative. The path chosen to achieve these objectives was a transition to the Cloud. Following a period of its own investigations, CZ decided to involve Xpirit to stake out the transition path to the Cloud and to familiarize CZ’s teams with this path.

CZ: insurance business means managing risk

Risk is the mainstay of an insurance company. On the one hand, providing coverage for the risks encountered by its clients; and on the other, minimizing the cost of providing this coverage by managing and mitigating the risks involved. In short, sustainably providing care will only work if the provider acts with care. Aren de Hooge, Manager Information and Project Management at CZ explains: “While the need to innovate was clear, the way to realize this required maximum care. Moving to the Cloud may sound simple, but for us it involved making the strategic translation to our digital strategy. This ranged from identifying application workloads that needed to be moved to the cloud to a transition from TFS to VSTS, as well as the implementation of DevOps to ensure a solid Cloud-first foundation. Naturally, our own team of IT professionals had a wealth of ideas, but in order to make a well-founded decision, we involved Xpirit because of its dedicated knowhow and relevant experience in staking out the path to the Cloud.”

In order to obtain approval from our top management, we had to come up with a detailed strategy and a business plan that demonstrated the organizational and financial feasibility. And this is where Xpirit proved its value: they supported us in creating our Cloud vision and strategy, and subsequently gave presentations to a number of stakeholders during which they showed the benefits of various platforms from a business perspective.

Aren de Hooge, Manager Information and Project Management at CZ

Compared to cultural change, technology is the easy part

Aren continues: “In addition to assisting us in the decisionmaking process, they guided us once we had decided to go ahead. And that guidance certainly helped, for a transition like this involves three components: technology, process and people. And out of those three, technology is the easy part. You sometimes get the feeling that only 5% of the effort and attention goes to technology, while 95% is required for influencing people, creating the right community, and bringing about cultural change. And this was certainly needed, because the culture of a Cloud-first agile approach in DevOps teams is diametrically opposed to the culture of risk minimization.”

Xpirit’s consultant became one of us guys

Sander Timmers, Manager of the team of CZ’s product owners: “Xpirit guided us when it came to developing our teams and the community required for implementing the changes. And it was certainly not a question of guidance from a distant ivory tower. Martijn van de Sijde, Xpirit’s consultant for this project, was here, hands-on on the work floor, and integrated as a team member. He became one of us guys, and his enthusiasm inspired the team. And what’s so great is that he enabled us to reach the level where we could do the actual work ourselves.”

The result: a self-sufficient and motivated team

Patrick de Neuve, CZ’s Enterprise Architect: “Martijn guided us to the extent that we were able to migrate our first platform, our CRM environment, to the Cloud. Moreover, he helped our team become so strong and motivated that the team itself managed to counter resistance to change. What’s more, they ended up convincing the various stakeholders of the right path we had chosen, and that the benefits certainly outweighed the risks. And achieving results that will make us innovative and agile, reduce our time to market, save costs, and improve the services we provide to our clients.”

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