Ageas | Illuminet – Virtual Bench as a Service (VBaaS)

We are pleased to see our Virtual Bench as a Service (VBaaS) helping clients.  Here’s a great example of partnering with a client who shares our values.

As one of the largest car and home insurers in the UK, Ageas is a trusted insurance company providing protection to over five million motorists, households and businesses across the UK both directly and via brokers.  They work in partnership with a diverse range of organisations, including Age UK Enterprises Limited and Connells, and are joint owners of Tesco Underwriting, which provides car and home insurance to Tesco Bank customers.

Ageas makes their service easy and straightforward, delivering the highest standards of service to their customers, and so they chose Illuminet as an IT Consultancy partner, as they saw the same in us.

“Ageas have been a delight to work with, they share common values in how they deliver to their customers, and on how they treat their employees and partners.  At every stage they have been transparent, honest, fair and have wanted to work in partnership to ensure success.”, Steve Farmer, Client Delivery Director, Illuminet

Illuminet’s Virtual Bench as a Service (VBaaS) is designed to provide rapid access to our delivery expertise through an outsourced outcome-based arrangement, boosting change capability at short notice.   This provides a consultancy engagement to deliver specific agreed outcomes, with Illuminet taking responsibility for the deliverables.  Illuminet offers a rapid mobilisation SLA, with a menu of options for discounts dependent on deployment options and volume.

Example 1 – VBaaS – Project Management Services

Business Need – Illuminet’s Project Management Services, as part of Virtual Bench as a Service (VBaaS), to bridge a capability gap in Scrum Master expertise and consultancy support for current and future Projects.  Ageas needed to build a new servicing portal and ‘quote & buy’ website to improve supportability. A Project had previously been baselined.  Illuminet was asked to provide Scrum Master capability to run an external development team and get it to the point where they delivered quality code at the same rate as the in-house team.

Our Approach – Illuminet deployed an experienced Scrum Master able to quickly learn about the project and the product being delivered and ensure that the developers on the Scrum Team had the same understanding. They recognised inefficiencies in the processes in place and were proactive in tackling those areas, which included guidance for Product Owners and highlighting the lack of test resource within the Scrum Team.   The Illuminet Scrum Master was instrumental in finding a pragmatic approach which brought benefits of Scrum to the project while recognising that Ageas does not have a mature Agile culture yet, so are not able to support full Scrum methodology.

The Outcome – We adapted the Agile methodology to a hybrid ‘scrum-fall’ approach as a compromise that would not damage the reputation of scrum within Ageas in the long run while still being able to deliver value.  The resulting project pace, with associated quality, was achieved for Ageas by adopting and following this approach.

Example 2 – VBaaS – Business Analysis Services

Business Need – Illuminet’s Business Analysis Services, as part of Virtual Bench as a Service (VBaaS), was used to bridge a gap relating to Regulatory Business Analysis expertise, to provide consultancy skills to analyse the requirements.  An FCA Regulatory change for General Insurance needed to be implemented across Ageas.  Ageas are required to evidence that their products provide value through their product approval processes, the on-going review of product performance and their oversight of distribution arrangements. The Board should set appetite(s) with respect to “Value” and be able to satisfy themselves through appropriate reporting that the business is operating within agreed limits.

Our Approach – The challenge was to interpret detailed guidance and to assess which areas of the business this would impact and how, alongside what the business currently has in place to cover this FCA requirement and identify any gaps in order to plug them.  We identified significant gaps with the business Management Information and sight of Broker activity.  We broke down the requirements into themes/mini projects – Product Design, Product Governance Process, Strategy, Product ‘value / review’, Value Chain, Distribution, MI / software solution and engaged SMEs for a full scope impact assessment.  After the evaluation, a risk-based approach was used against which detailed gap analysis and business requirements were produced. 

The Outcome – When Illuminet started in February 2020, work had begun on the regulatory requirement, Illuminet’s Business Analysis capability enabled rapid acceleration of activities.  The proposed Project approach (with defined mini projects) was signed off, a clear roadmap detailing the phased approach was agreed and a full scope impact assessment was completed.  A third-party market leading software solution was selected and detailed business requirements were defined for Priority 1 themes (Distribution/Software Solution/MI).  A robust handover to the permanent team was completed, with Illuminet’s consultant remaining the primary point of contact to assist the Projects transition.  All of this will negate risks of large fines and reputational risk from the Regulator as this GI Distribution project is now fully up and running.

What our Client says “We have been working with Illuminet, using their Virtual Bench as a Service (VBaaS), for a number of months now. We have made use of both the Project Management and Business Analysis services in order to provide specific expertise or to augment our capacity. We have had the opportunity to work with experienced, knowledgeable individuals who have settled in quickly, getting to grips with the challenges faced and adding value across a variety of projects and programmes.” (Kjirste Coltham, Director of IT Delivery Services, AGEAS)

For more information on Illuminet’s Virtual Bench as a Service, please contact enquiries@illuminetsolutions.com or visit https://illuminet.co/virtual-bench/

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