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Our client is one of the world’s largest insurance companies, serving over 80 million customers across 70 countries worldwide. Back in 2006, they took the strategic decision to transform into a ‘digital group’ to sell more products in more countries and drive over Euro 1bn out of annual IT running costs. Fundamental to the realisation of this digital strategy was the development of their core software platform, known as the company business system (CBS).

The CBS is fundamental to every single daily operation of the insurance company across its many business units and across multiple countries. Successful delivery of the digital strategy would hinge on our client’s ability to develop the platform, maintaining quality throughout, without introducing risk to any part of their global insurance operations.

They recognised the need to employ a single, autonomous strategic independent quality partner to oversee and manage the quality assurance aspect of the work. As the programme was to span many individual projects and had a timeline of years, not months, they needed a supplier who would take on the role over the entire course of the programme. 

As SQS had already worked with this company on a number of strategic projects, we were the perfect fit.

The Challenge

The CBS is core to the business and necessarily complex, interfacing with a large number of front, middle and back office systems. It included in-house and third party web applications, data warehouses, an SAS analytical layer and SAP®. Developing the CBS included building on the current platform, replacing numerous legacy systems, consolidating existing services and delivering brand new services to a highly competitive market.

SQS’s role was to become a strategic quality partner, taking the responsibility to ensure the development activities did not introduce defects into the CBS. Specifically, our objectives were to:

  • Increase the quality of delivered upgrades through establishing a high quality and cost-effective testing strategy and ongoing test management.
  • Improve programme and project management effectiveness through continuous improvement initiatives and moving to iterative and agile delivery.
  • Enable tailor-made, cost-effective deliveries of software releases through a standardised requirements process, together with business analysis and design.

The client’s global presence and business unit hierarchy meant that our response to their brief was global in reach and meticulous in detail.

SQS’s Approach to Risk Mitigation

The scale of the programme required the rapid mobilisation of a large team of SQS global digital transformation consultants to work alongside the internal development team.

Service Delivery and Strategic Collaboration

We provided tailored teams of Business Designers and Programme Managers to work with each programme and a managed testing service framework through a ‘testing factory’, designed to collaborate with the client’s ‘insurance factory’ – which performed the actual CBS development. SQS had complete control of the testing factory, taking the responsibility for critical testing out of our client’s hands completely.

Cost-effective Strategy and Automation

Standardisation and automation were introduced wherever possible. This enabled the programme activities to shift to a more cost-effective off-shoring model over the course of the collaboration.

Visibility and Performance Tracking

Detailed and extensive reporting at regular intervals ensured complete visibility of the quality and testing outcomes, with a focus on SLAs and KPIs for meeting delivery dates and minimising business disruption.


SQS has partnered with the client for almost 10 years.

SQS has maintained a constant focus on evolving our services to support ongoing development initiatives to the CBS. Our drive towards standardisation and automation has improved efficiency and increased the amount of offshore resources. Ultimately, our involvement has saved this global insurance business millions of euros in operating costs, and has been a significant contribution to a specific programme of reducing running costs by over €1 billion per year.

Fundamentally, with SQS taking responsibility for programme quality, this global insurance company has achieved their vision of becoming a digital group, whilst also strengthening their world-leading position in a highly competitive market.

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