Using new technologies and methodologies, VECOZO and Info Support have begun incorporating the entire software life cycle – from analysis to roll-out – into one integrated process.
VECOZO and Info Support
Since its founding in early 2002, VECOZO has become a key player in the complex playing field of healthcare. The company provides services such as streamlined information exchange between healthcare providers and health insurers. This includes verifying policyholders’ details (processing over one billion checks against insurance law annually) and hosting the claims portal where healthcare providers submit their claims to insurers and receive information on how these claims are handled (almost all healthcare claims pass through the portal every year).
Ton Bogerd, IT Manager at VECOZO
We’ve made it this far with Info Support, and we’ll keep moving forward together as well.
These services are now being provided to over 100,000 active users. In addition, as part of the Social Support Act and the Youth Act, Dutch municipalities have been using VECOZO’s services for information exchange with healthcare providers since January 1, 2015. Ton explains: “All these years we’ve been using a carefully selected, reliable and scalable infrastructure. It has worked very well, in part because we’ve stuck to our standards all this time. One of these standards was Endeavour, Info Support’s software development infrastructure. They’ve been great about helping us with this all along.” From the twinkle in Ton’s eye, it’s clear that “great” is an understatement. “We’ve made it this far together, and we’ll keep moving forward together as well.”
New infrastructure, new opportunities
“With VECOZO’s strong growth, the old way of rolling out new software was due for a fresh efficiency boost,” says Igor van Haren, a technical specialist at Info Support who has been working with VECOZO for many years. Software is delivered in short sprints with the agile development approach called Scrum, but then the roll-out to the production environment takes place once a month, partly because it is relatively time-consuming. “Once a month in the evening, almost the entire system goes offline for a few hours – including the parts that aren’t affected by the new software. As the number of services increases, greater flexibility is required.”
While the roll-out to the production environment and its subsequent management falls under the responsibility of technical application management in the old situation, “we are now bringing development and management closer together,” Ton says. “Others call that DevOps (Development and Operations).” The new, supplementary infrastructure that VECOZO recently purchased “will also help us to roll out new software faster and in a more segmented manner.” Igor adds that a solid underlying application architecture is crucial in this regard, something that Info Support definitely brings to the table.
VECOZO’s IT organization is therefore in the midst of a change process in which three elements together play a central role:
- Integrated tooling in which code delivery is automated as much as possible, testing is automated, and applications can be placed in any environment in a fully automated manner.
- Clear processes and methods to guide software from development to roll-out and management.
- Committed employees who are aware of their own role in the success of the whole project, close collaboration between developers and managers, and people from both Info Support and VECOZO who inspire, connect with and strengthen each other.
“We work with highly advanced tools that have more than proven themselves in the market,” Ton says. “In all of this, ‘Info Support’s Endeavour shines through’. The high quality of the work is also reflected in the ratings of the independent Software Improvement Group (SIG), which are above the global average.”
DevOps breaks through the traditional organizational structure of an IT department. The power lies in the combination of tools, processes and people. “For me, what matters most is the goal,” Ton says. “Tools and methods are important, but they’re a means, not an end. The same is true for DevOps itself.”
The members of each team have a shared goal that they can achieve as a team, precisely because they possess skills that complement each other.
“Eventually, the DevOps teams can even evolve into fully-fledged High-Performance Teams.” And in combination with the new infrastructure, applications and application architecture, VECOZO has its sights set on Continuous Delivery as well – thanks in no small part to Info Support.