Client Overview

ahm

ahm health insurance is backed by one of Australia’s largest health insurers, Medibank. More than 500,000 Australians have trusted ahm with their health insurance over the past 40 years, at the same time supporting a local success story and an Australian company.

ahm and Inlight have had a successful partnership over the past 5 years, developing a range of digital solutions, helping to enhance ahm digital capability and better our customer’s experiences.

The Brief

Working together

In 2012, ahm having recently been acquired by Medibank undertook its first major project to rebrand and replatform it's Sales and Members websites and launch new products into market. Inlight team members developed the front end user interface of the websites to meet the tight deadlines and delivered a digital experience that was leading in the health insurance category.

In 2015, three years after the initial re-platforming project, the websites had little updates and were starting to present challenges. ahm sought advice from Inlight to help understand and address their digital delivery challenges. In their current state, deployments of new features and fixes had become slow and complex, ahm had no internal design and development capability so were reliant on multiple vendors, and their technology stack was becoming stale and was no longer supporting efficient, cost effective and high quality releases to their online channels.

Our brief was to get to the core of these challenges and uplift the digital delivery capability of ahm and set them up to deliver on their vision of being a world class digital business.

Objectives

Delivering a better customer experience

This project sought to deliver a better experience for prospective ahm customers on their sales website (www.ahm.com.au). The specific objectives of the project were

  1. Redesign the sales website to increase new customer conversion rates
  2. Rebuild the existing website using modern web technologies to make it both faster for customers and faster to build
  3. Bridge the website with existing backend systems by putting a modern API in place to serve multiple web experiences
  4. Improve coding and deployment practices so ahm can deliver better quality experiences more quickly, including Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployments (CD).
Discovery

Understanding the problem

We know that the best solutions come from a deep understanding of the problems we are trying to solve. It’s important to understand what’s broken, before going into solutions mode. But how do we know what’s broken? We start with a discovery process that helps us understand the current state.

The ahm discovery process included:

  • Interviews with a wide range of business stakeholders
  • Workshops
  • Research
  • Technology stack review
  • Digital delivery process review

The outcomes of the discover process provided the ahm team with a greater transparency into the technical architecture and areas of required improvement.

Key problems identified during the discovery process included:

  • Vendors operating in isolation
  • Sub-optimal team structure
  • High interdependency between systems
  • Inefficient deployment and testing processes
  • Lack of integration between digital platforms

Combined, these problems were contributing to an inefficient and high cost digital delivery model. A model that is typical of large enterprises that are restricted by heavily integrated enterprise systems and highly manual processes.

From here, we were in a position to start defining the future state digital solution that would set ahm up for continued success.

Solutions mode

Let's do things differently

Once the challenges were clear, we set our minds to defining the right solution. We modelled the solution on a typical Silcon Valley startup - build a small, highly skilled delivery team, leverage low cost SaaS products, build an API driven architecture, and use processes such as agile, continuous integration and automated testing to deliver.

When we set about defining the solution, we realised that this was as much a change management piece, as it was a technology re-platform. With this in mind, we established agreed digital delivery principles, which would help guide our decision making. We wanted to avoid doing things the old way, and this required business wide buy-in to the new way of thinking.

The principles were closely aligned to ahm’s digital vision and focussed on areas such as cost reduction, speed to market, transparency, governance, user-centricity, and data-driven decision making. They were also principles that you might find governing software companies like Facebook, eBay or Netflix.

Once these were in place, we started defining the technical concepts that would govern the overall solution. These included;

  • Consistent software languages
  • Version control
  • Code collaboration
  • Automated testing
  • Continuous integration
  • Automated deployments
  • Analytics & system monitoring

The stack itself used a component driven architecture and a newly built API to abstract the health insurance platform from the rest of the stack. We utilised JavaScript based technologies including Node.js for the backend, and ReactJS for the frontend to build a single language, dynamic and flexible technology stack.

Results

Where are we today?

ahm’s website deployment time reduced significantly as a result of this project. Deployments now take minutes, where they used to take days.

An update to the new website can now be deployed within 10 minutes with thousands of automated unit tests run prior to deployment to ensure quality and reduce likelihood of bugs occurring in production. Contrast to this, the days it used to take for a simple update to be deployed and the manual effort involved previously. Confidence is the key to shipping regularly, the new platform and process gives ahm that confidence to be able to ship daily.

The ahm website is recognised as a game-changer within the insurance industry and similar verticals. Together with Inlight, ahm is continuously able to optimise its sales funnel and deliver new experiences to its members, positioning ahm as a strong player in the industry.

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