CM: OutSystems is the way forward
The quest for world-class digital experiences placed an increasing burden on CM’s IT organization. As Belgium’s largest health insurance fund was looking for faster, modern application development methods, it found a solution in the combination of OutSystems and Providit.
Christelijke Mutualiteiten (CM) is Belgium’s largest health insurance fund, serving 4.5 million customers. The company acts as patients’ representative with healthcare providers and administers claims, payments, and social assistance for its members, within the Belgian state’s compulsory health insurance.
The quest for world-class digital experiences placed an increasing burden on CM’s IT organization, which was struggling to keep up with demand. The shortage of IT skills on the Belgian market didn’t help, nor did the ever-increasing pressure on the business side of the organization to shorten the time to market of new applications.
Wide scale adoption
CM already runs hundreds of applications and has around 300 developers. As a consequence, the business case for adopting OutSystems depended on wide scale adoption. This was clearly not about building one or two urgent things fast. CM needed a governed, architectural approach that would maximize the reuse of components. Scalability and security were crucial, given the financial details and health data it processes for millions of customers.
OutSystems partner Providit provided advice on software architecture and training: conceptual training for managers and team leads, as well as development training for CM’s in-house OutSystems team. After getting started with some smaller cases, the agile team – including two of Providit’s OutSystems developers – set out for the development of Care Volunteering: an Uber-like application that assigns social-care tasks, such as home visits and medicine deliveries, to CM’s 70,000 volunteers.
The development involved integration to back-end systems written in COBOL and Java. CM reused these integrations in subsequent development projects, the most strategic and customer-facing one being My CM. The application aims to provide every customer service capability that had previously required customers to visit stores or call the contact center.
The IT team had just nine months to deliver the omnichannel suite of applications, including native mobile apps on iOS and Android, a customer-facing web portal, and the internal customer service app. Given that 4.5 million customers would ultimately use My CM, performance speed and user experience were crucial design considerations.
CM was able to speed up development by using OutSystems UI: an extensive library of responsive visual components and screen templates that enabled the team to customize UI standards across the application suite. Thanks to OutSystems’ rapid visual development capabilities, the CM development team was able to take user feedback in its stride. A UX design agency provided continuous input from a panel of customers of all ages.
Five OutSystems developers were involved in the My CM project: two from CM and three from Providit. The team delivered on time. The overall development time was nine months, of which UI development with OutSystems was four months. Early on in the OutSystems journey, CM did some development speed comparisons with Java. OutSystems proved to be 40 percent faster. Had CM not been using OutSystems, it would have needed at least eight developers to deliver the same functionality in the same time frame.
My CM is just one of 27 OutSystems applications that the IT team supports to date, and the portfolio continues to grow. CM is in the process of digitizing all of the members’ forms and documents. Things like sick notes to claim government sick pay are all moving online. Less printing and mailing will be kind to the planet and better value for our members. Meanwhile, CM is expanding its in-house OutSystems developer community, with tailored training programs to equip junior and senior developers, as well as technical analysts, to use OutSystems.
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