Transputec steers Chubb Insurance through Websphere migration

THE CLIENT

Chubb Insurance Company of Europe SA is a member of The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, one of the world's leading insurance organisations. Founded in 1882, the company has 25 offices in 11 countries, including eight offices in the UK and Ireland.

Chubb Insurance is known for providing specialised insurance programmes to individuals and a wide range of businesses through independent brokers. Chubb has an innovative approach to insuring a diverse range of businesses around the world. It offers broad cover, often not available elsewhere, on either a mono-line or package basis. It provides cover for domestic and multinational organisations and has developed products and services to meet the needs of specific industries.

Chubb Insurance's Masterpiece personal insurance programme for homes, valuables, motor, travel and personal liability is considered by many to be the market leader.


THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE

Chubb Insurance needed to migrate its UK and Europe IT operations from a WebLogic platform to IBM WebSphere to fit in with the global corporate standard. "The rest of world was already using WebSphere, with only Europe retaining a WebLogic environment,” explained Martin Hague, IT Infrastructure Manager - Europe, Chubb Insurance.

"Unable to recruit a new team member with the right skills, we knew that IBM had the skill-set to smoothly achieve the transformation, but also realised that this would be a very costly route.

"Putting the contract out to the market," continued Martin, "we were very impressed with the offer from Transputec, and having found them to be a good supplier in the past, were confident they would respond well to the challenge.

"Chubb Insurance had a resource issue with its WebSphere migration." said Transputec consultant Steve Robinson.

"The marketplace didn't seem to be able to offer any suitable candidates for an in-house position. So Chubb Insurance appointed me to work fulltime alongside the in-house team until the new infrastructure was designed and applications began to be deployed to the new platform." he added.


THE SOLUTION

The transition was achieved in a couple of steps: from a given point of time, all new applications were written for WebSphere and as existing systems came up for rewrites, they too were migrated.

"After almost seven months, the migration programme still has a yearand- a-half to run," said Martin "and it is by no means an overnight process. But Transputec has set high standards that we will now continue to uphold in-house."

Chubb Insurance initially contracted Transputec consultant Steve Robinson for three-months and a further three-and-a-half-months later, Steve is finally performing a handover. The handover is to a new Chubb Insurance employee, who Steve actively helped to recruit.

"We've had to have a bit of a 'suck it and see' attitude to timescale on this project because as the client company had no in-house WebSphere knowledge, its expectations about the migration process had to be carefully managed from day one," said Steve.

During his nine months with Chubb Insurance, Steve set up all process, documented directions and designs, worked with the development teams to ensure they knew what was happening, carried out fault-finding and worked on WebSphere environments to ensure compliance.


THE BENEFITS

"Steve has fitted in and worked as if he was a member of staff," said Martin. "He's fully integrated into the team and joined in according. He's made many friends as well, who I'm sure he'll stay in touch with for years to come."

"Chubb Insurance needed someone who could hit the ground running, and this is exactly what we were able to provide," said Steve.

"Absolute expertise and excellent communication skills are the strongest part of our offer," explained Steve. For nine months we have brought a strong sense of direction and expert recommendations to the Chubb Insurance IT team."

Steve continues that being able to communicate effectively with all departments - technical and managerial - is vital in a project of this size and complexity. Trouble-shooting was another fundamental component of the skill portfolio that Transputec brought to its client.

"The first time we had an application in WebSphere which had been written and developed within WebLogic it wouldn't run," explained Steve.

The code was J2EE compliant and Java should run on any Java server, continued Steve, but there are always nuances and during his time with Chubb Insurance, the consultant ironed a large number of them out.

"I have also trained the Chubb Insurance developers in how to install and configure applications for the new platform and have taught them the 'Java colloquialisms' they need to understand to ensure total compliance," he added.

Prior to the start of this contract, Transputec was known to Chubb Insurance as a value-added supplier of IBM equipment and for its Citrix and IBM blade technology consultancy and had built up a good relationship over a period of three years.

"We were aware of the diversity of services that Transputec could offer and having found them a good supplier and contractor, were keen to push their consultancy muscle," said Martin. "This project allowed Transputec to more than prove its worth and I can honestly say that they have never delivered anything other than an all round decent performance and good advice."