ZLM Verzekeringen is a regional insurer for Zeeland and Noord-Brabant that stands for customer satisfaction and quality. Also online. That’s why the insurer wanted to modernise the website and make it up to date again. With Ibuildings as a partner. Martin van der Borgt, online Marketing & Communication employee, and Peter Geluk, Head of Information Management, talk about it under the motto: ‘Rather a good product for our customers than rushing live with half a product.’
The renewal of the website was high on the agenda of ZLM. First of all, ZLM was in need of a new look and feel. More of this time. The website had to be ‘responsive’: a site that adapts to the size of tablets and mobile phones and is therefore also usable on these devices.
The maintenance had to be done from one content management system (CMS). Subsequently, the organisation wanted to broaden the e-commerce function and offer more insurance products online, but much more intelligently and customer-friendly than before.
Finally, the technology of the platform at that time began to become obsolete and new functions would no longer be supported.
ZLM commissioned a pilot. The assignment? Shows how ZLM can unlock the e-commerce function (calculating premiums, taking out insurances) in an already existing design, technically well accessible with the back office and can easily adapt dynamically. Two equal parties remained and the choice fell on Ibuildings.
Peter Geluk: “What was the deciding factor? That was the communication with Ibuildings. Already in the pilot phase, they convinced us with how quickly they reacted, provided feedback and always gave us insight into where we stood together. Moreover, we expected that with Ibuildings as a new supplier, we would get a fresh look at our own way of working”.
Smart, fast integrations
The basis behind the technology is existing software with quite a bit of customization. This is mainly found in the integration with the back office to access data smartly and quickly. Premium calculations, for example, which can be quite complex. This is solved with a web service layer between the website and the back office. “We have collaborated a lot, with Ibuildings and other parties involved. With all the knowledge, experience and input, we have developed a new, robust architecture”, says Peter Geluk. Of course a lot of attention was also paid to security and securing data streams. And with success: a final security analysis by an external party yielded only a few minor issues that could be solved immediately.
Ibuildings works with Agile/Scrum. That was in line with ZLM, where the IT department was already working Agile. Now communication was added as well. It became an intensive collaboration with development phases lasting two weeks. “Gradually we learned from each other”, says Peter Geluk “An example? First we had two separate development teams, one for the back office and one for the front-end. But that caused noise and delay. What one did had a direct impact on the other, but that only became apparent afterwards. We fine-tuned the teams so that they came out with one joint demo after each development phase. That created more cohesion, which allowed us to work faster and more pleasantly”.
“In addition to their technical and process input, Ibuildings managed the scope of the project very consciously and very concretely,” continues Martin van der Borgt. “Of course we had progressive insight, but Ibuildings always kept us up to date. Do you want this too? Then we’re not going to achieve the objectives from the scope”. Hasn’t anything been adjusted at all? “Yes,” Martin says, “but especially on the detail level. For example, our shopping basket, where you can now add several insurances at once.
Ibuildings thought about the exceptions, what if one thing is possible and the other is not. How do you process that in the back office? How do you communicate it to the customer in meaningful, user-friendly error messages? Very valuable.”
Ready for the future
‘Rather a good product for the customers than a hasty live run with half a product’. That’s ZLM all the way. The insurer steers on quality and customer satisfaction; also for the use of the website. According to Martin van der Borgt this has been successful. “The website is very user-friendly and modern, with convenient navigation and easy to use on mobile devices. In addition, the platform is future-proof for new developments, such as personalisation, so that you, as a user, get information that applies to you.
An important gain for our own organization is that the hosting of the website is now done externally. This means more stability and less management burden for our IT department. Ibuildings works closely with this hosting party, open and transparent. We are very satisfied with that”.
Supplier or partner?
Peter Geluk sums up his experiences with Ibuildings in this way: “I experience Ibuildings as a very good partner. I deliberately say ‘partner’ and not ‘supplier’. They take on the project as a joint project that you want to finish well together and they think along with you. I like that very much. Do you pose as a supplier or as a partner? That’s a big difference.
We try to be a partner for our customers, so we expect the same from our suppliers. With Ibuildings that’s possible.”