DevOps: Scaling, Securing & Serving the Insurtech Industry

As we move forward into 2023, business leaders in the Insurtech space are considering how to take their companies to the next level, with the help of digital transformation. To remain competitive, they need to embrace new technologies, innovate business processes and keep pace with their competitors in the market. This can be daunting for Insurtech businesses, with many of them grappling with the latest initiatives, skills gap and lack of training available for employees. 

This is where DevOps comes into play. It is a fast-growing model that combines software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops), to help organisations accelerate their digital transformation, bringing benefits of IT consolidation, operational efficiencies and increased speed to market. It can also improve the way that Insurtech businesses deliver value to their key customers and stakeholders, as their IT teams can better understand the needs of the industry and deliver a product that meets the customer’s needs in real-time.

When implementing DevOps methodology, the risk of errors is significantly reduced with automated manufacturing and testing mechanisms that bolster insurance companies’ security and reliability in the long term. Additionally, DevOps brings the benefits of scalability which is vital when peaks in the load occur. Not only does this enhance Insurtech’s operational resilience, but it also enables businesses in this sector to become more cost-efficient. 

Key Challenges

The global DevOps market was worth $8.7 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach a value of $32.7 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 24.69% during that time. Whilst the benefits of DevOps are tangible, there are several considerations that Insurtech businesses need to take into account. Many organisations, particularly those in the insurance industry, have legacy systems and environments which can often make it more difficult to adopt DevOps practices. For instance, it can be more challenging to automate their deployments with CI/CD Pipelines and leverage the benefits that come with this Practice. 

Organisations must evaluate the feasibility of modernising or migrating legacy systems and devise strategies to reduce disruptions during the transition. Furthermore, DevOps necessitates a significant cultural shift to break down silos and promote collaboration among development, operations, and other teams. Change resistance, a lack of collaboration, and competing goals can all hinder the adoption of DevOps practices. It is critical to foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement, as well as to provide teams with the necessary training and support.

Other considerations include establishing the required level of skill sets and knowledge, embracing tooling and automation, not compromising security and compliance, and implementing continuous monitoring and feedback. Addressing these challenges and considerations necessitates a thorough and well-planned approach. Organisations should conduct extensive assessments, create a roadmap, include all relevant stakeholders, and iterate and refine their implementation over time.

Core Benefits

The key benefits of implementing DevOps include increased agility, faster time to market, higher software quality, and improved organisational collaboration. Organisations in the Insurtech industry can transform their software delivery processes, improve operational efficiency, and drive innovation by implementing DevOps practices. According to an Atlassian Survey, DevOps had a positive impact on 99% of respondents’ organisations. DevOps enabled 78% of respondents to learn a new skill, 61% to produce higher-quality deliverables, and helped 49% to gain a faster time to market.

DevOps embraces automation, and continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), allowing organisations to speed up their software development and deployment processes. Teams can deliver new features, updates, and bug fixes more quickly by automating manual tasks, reducing handovers, and streamlining workflows. This increased speed enables businesses to respond to market demands more quickly, and seize opportunities to gain a competitive advantage.

Furthermore, DevOps emphasises the importance of breaking down silos between development, operations, and other teams involved in the software delivery process. Organisations can improve cross-functional teamwork by encouraging collaboration, knowledge sharing, and open communication. Collaboration tools and practices such as shared repositories, chat platforms, and collaborative documentation promote efficient and effective teamwork, resulting in better alignment, fewer errors, and higher overall productivity.

DevOps also brings observability on board, meaning an organisation can overtake problems and mitigate them before they cause an outage of the services for its clients. It also provides Platform Engineering, especially based on Cloud services, to ensure your software is always ready for both fast growth as well as short-term computing power peaks’ needs. What’s more, scaling and autoscaling allow Insurtech organisations to deal with the reporting periods, adding resources at this time and reducing them after the peak to reduce costs.

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is an accompanying DevOps Practice that allows Insurtech businesses to control costs for many aspects of software delivery and operations. For example, it allows them to advance additional test and development environments when needed and remove them when no longer needed to save costs. Organisations can also acquire additional production instances of the systems when needed with minimal costs. Additionally, IaC means all the infrastructure configuration and its changes are tracked and controlled the same way the system code is, plus it ensures the documentation of the infrastructure is in one place.

Finally, DevOps methodologies emphasise continuous testing, automation, and feedback loops. Organisations can improve the quality and stability of their software by implementing robust testing frameworks, automated test suites, and integrating testing into the development process. Organisations can also reduce manual errors, ensure consistency, and increase operational efficiency by automating the provisioning, configuration, and management of infrastructure and environments.

Main Metrics

The DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) Metrics are a set of key performance indicators that assess the effectiveness of an organisation’s DevOps practices. These metrics include deployment frequency, change lead time, change failure rate, and Mean Time to Restore Service (MTTR). Companies can gain insight into their delivery processes and identify areas for improvement by tracking and improving these metrics. For example, increasing deployment frequency while maintaining a low change failure rate indicates a high-performing software delivery team, which most probably has implemented DevOps Practices.

MTTR is the average amount of time it takes for a system to recover from a service disruption or total failure. It is critical to quantify and track downtime as an incident management metric, whether the interruption is due to a recent deployment or an isolated system failure. Automated monitoring and alerting systems detect issues quickly, allowing teams to respond proactively. Furthermore, by using infrastructure as code and automated deployment pipelines, the recovery process is made efficient.

Improving DORA Metrics can have a significant long-term impact on the Insurtech sector. Staying ahead of the competition in this fast-paced industry necessitates the ability to quickly adapt and deliver innovative solutions. Insurtech companies can introduce new products and services more quickly, meeting customer demands and seizing market opportunities, by leveraging DevOps practices to reduce time to market, supported by data-driven insights to continuously optimise processes.

DevOps is a Process of Continuous Improvement

DevOps adoption implies that organisations are willing to change quickly, develop quickly, test quickly, recover quickly, learn quickly, and push features to market quickly. DevOps practices provide significant benefits to businesses in terms of shorter time to market, increased operational resilience, and infrastructure security. Insurtech companies can improve their performance, service availability, and long-term competitiveness by focusing on DORA Metrics and continuously improving them.

Jaroslaw Wachowicz

Jaroslaw Wachowicz is the Head of DevOps at Future Processing, with extensive experience in software delivery. He started as a Software Engineer and for the past twenty-five years, he has delivered software solutions to clients around the world in several roles. Jaroslaw has advanced from software development and requirements analysis technical roles to managing teams and departments.

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