Improving Developer Productivity in Azure with Advanced Cloud Engineering

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Case study - Improving Developer Productivity in Azure with Advanced Cloud Engineering

About the Client

Admiral is a leading insurance provider offering a wide range of products including car insurance, home insurance, travel insurance, pet insurance and van insurance.

The company’s new enterprise application for insurance claims needed to be deployed securely and at scale on Microsoft Azure. Developer enablement was also required to quicken the pace of software delivers. We stepped in with the advanced cloud engineering skills to achieve these goals.

Challenge: Managing the Transition to Cloud-based Software Development

When Admiral invested in Guidewire ClaimCenter, an enterprise solution for property and casualty insurers, it opted to deploy the application on Azure. The goal was to empower its team of more than 100 developers to work with speed and agility, accelerating the rollout of new products, features and capabilities, to improve the customer experience.

Achieving this safely and securely required in-depth technical knowledge of Azure coupled with advanced software engineering capabilities. We were appointed on this basis then tasked with handling the deployment onto Azure and creating a platform to support the full software delivery lifecycle (SDLC), from development to production.

“We needed to be absolutely confident that Guidewire ClaimCenter would deliver the benefits we were looking for when implemented on Azure. The scale and complexity of the task was immense, but with [a DevOps specialist] on-board we knew we had the necessary insights and technical expertise to get the job done.”

Dale O’Connor
Head of Platform Engineering, Admiral

Solution: Leveraging Azure DevOps to Accelerate Innovation

We set out to maximise developer and infrastructure agility via a streamlined ‘platforms and pipelines’ approach. The entire SDLC platform was built on Azure DevOps, ensuring uniformity and stability across all elements.

Key features include the use of automation to create a scalable infrastructure that can be dialed up or down on-demand according to need. Developers can spin-out new environments for development, quality assurance, testing, pre-production and production quickly. These environments co-exist, so multiple development squads can work concurrently and independently.

We implemented various monitoring, logging and alert tools to ensure any code-related issues are identified early as possible. This enables developers to rectify issues quickly before the code moves downstream, so the increased velocity goes hand-in-hand with efficiency and quality assurance.

Security was further enhanced using services including Azure Key Vault and Azure Active Directory. The CI/CD pipelines were set up to track code commits in support of disaster recovery. Code is stored in Azure Repos to allow concurrent development of infrastructure features in a secure manner.

Outcome: Developers Empowered to Innovate Faster

With our engineering support, Admiral now benefits from a performant and scalable Azure-based platform for Guidewire ClaimCenter. The platform is both secure and globally available, so Admiral’s large and geographically dispersed team of developers can access what they need, when they need it.

Admiral’s application partner highlighted that the stability and availability of the SDLC we provided meant the usual ‘infrastructure risks and issues’ logs associated with deployment of enterprise software have not been necessary. Our approach resulted in a high level of platform availability and consistency, enabling developers to remain productive.

We’ve empowered developers to work swiftly and independently, managing the risks associated with deploying software at pace, as they create and release new features to enhance customer experiences. They can deploy application code to dedicated environments in a consistent, repeatable and secure manner without having to manage the underlying infrastructure or call on the support of an infrastructure team.

“At Admiral, we have a great set of engineers with all the domain knowledge and skills needed to deliver our vision in Guidewire. [This collaboration] enabled us to achieve our vision through modern, scalable and repeatable methods, such as everything-as-code and CI/CD. The team has always taken a collaborative approach, free of ego, which lead to a real ‘one team’ approach.”

Mark Marrin
Head of Technology – IT Claims, Admiral

This case study is based on work completed by DevOpsGroup before the team joined forces with Sourced Group, an Amdocs company.