Link: How Insurance Giant Allstate Is Using Cloud Tech to Build New Businesses

“When you’re an 86-year-old company things have done a certain way, there are rules in place because of what someone did 10 years ago,” says Opal Perry, vice president and divisional chief information officer of claims for Allstate. “Now, instead of a 200-person team, you have small six- and eight-person teams working on things. It unleashes creativity.”

In the past, many enterprise software projects required millions of dollars, and even sign-off by the CEO. “By the time you got permission, ideas died,” explains Perry. “Now a senior manager has $50,000 or $100,000 to do a minimum viable product.”
Original source: How Insurance Giant Allstate Is Using Cloud Tech to Build New Businesses

Link: Allstate Technology Chief Develops The Uber Of Roadside Assistance

Success: “The Good Hands Rescue Network digital platform was launched in August 2016. Since then, we have seen a revenue lift in the tens of millions that is likely to grow to the hundreds of millions.”

Business value/metrics: “After a year, we are averaging around 25,000 rescues a month… With the end-to-end digital process of the request, response and time to arrive, we are seeing an average actual time of arrival (ATA) at 27 minutes, which has reduced the wait time by almost half. This is consistent with our primary objective of reducing the amount of time a motorist is stranded.”
Original source: Allstate Technology Chief Develops The Uber Of Roadside Assistance

Link: Allstate Technology Chief Develops The Uber Of Roadside Assistance

Success: “The Good Hands Rescue Network digital platform was launched in August 2016. Since then, we have seen a revenue lift in the tens of millions that is likely to grow to the hundreds of millions.”

Business value/metrics: “After a year, we are averaging around 25,000 rescues a month… With the end-to-end digital process of the request, response and time to arrive, we are seeing an average actual time of arrival (ATA) at 27 minutes, which has reduced the wait time by almost half. This is consistent with our primary objective of reducing the amount of time a motorist is stranded.”
Original source: Allstate Technology Chief Develops The Uber Of Roadside Assistance

Pivotal Conversations: The management perspective on transforming Allstate, with Opal Perry

I’m always interested to hear how management manages to change how software is done in large organizations – it can seem impossible! As ever, Allstate provides a fascinating stream of information here, and I was lucky to get the chance to interview Opal Perry there on how Allstate has been doing with all that cloud-native stuff.

Check out the listing on SoundCloud, and be sure to subscribe to the podcast if you like it.

Also, if you want to hear more, Matthew Curry and I had a similar conversation a few weeks ago at OSCON.

Pacing cloud-native transformation, and actually doing the work to increase productivity

I like to tell large organizations that compared to the break-neck pace of “the silicon valley mindset,” they can operate at a leisurely pace. That pace is usually fast for these enterprises, but their problem set and risk profile is a lot different than hats on cats. Abby has a nice, short write-up that hits on this topic among others:

By the end of his first year, Safford and his teams had built prototypes and market tests and finished 16 new software projects.

At Home Depot, they were at about 140 to 150 projects after a year or so. However, it’s common in the first year to do a lot of replatforming of “simple,” mostly cloud-native compatible apps in there. You can do these at a pretty fast clip, with the rule of thumb being 10 apps in 10 weeks. This is in addition to new applications, but explains high numbers like those at Home Depot. I suspect the Allstate numbers are mostly net-new apps, though.

Goals:

Safford’s eventual goal is to shift Allstate software development to 70 percent extreme agile programming and 30 percent traditional scrum and waterfall. Where developers used to spend only 20 percent of their time coding software, today up to 90 percent of their days are spent programming. Each of his CompoZed development labs around the world has the same startup look and feel, including scooters parked in the hallways. This is not your grandfather’s insurance company anymore.

What you hear over and over again from organizations going cloud-native is that developers were spending lots of time in meetings, checking email, and otherwise not coding (and, yes, by “coding” I don’t mean just recklessly LOC‘ing it up without design, and all that). Management had to spend much effort to get them back to coding.

As I fecklessly tell my seven year old when he’s struggling with homework: the only way to finish this quickly is to actually do the work.

(Also: nice write-up from Abby!)

Source: Don’t Forget People and Process in Your Digital Transformation