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Scaled agile helps modernize Guardian's operations

Guardian CIO Dean Del Vecchio has reduced technical debt, instituted a scaled agile development model, and embraced the cloud in a bid to vault rivals in the insurance industry.

Scaled agile helps modernize Guardian's operations
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Scaled agile development, coupled with cloud software, is breathing new life into 159-year-old mutual life insurance company Guardian Life, a formula that is serving enterprises of all stripes today — and one for which Guardian needed a forward-thinking CIO to make happen.

When Dean Del Vecchio joined Guardian as CIO in 2012, the company operated like many of its ilk, running aging, monolithic applications that were slow and cumbersome to maintain. Guardian, whose 9,000 employees support 27 million customers, implemented its first policy administration system in 1967. And it was still running IBM’s Lotus Notes, an email collaboration product that most CIOs have long since cast aside.

To enable Guardian to achieve the agility it required, Del Vecchio needed to modernize existing systems and re-platform on SaaS and the public cloud. But to support these efforts and deliver IT service more rapidly, he also needed to embrace agile development. One large initiative would propel the other.

Agile rules over all

Agile is the development model de rigueur thanks for the catch for enterprises seeking tighter IT-business alignment, co-creation, and crisper delivery of digital products and services. And for many companies, agile-plus-DevOps facilitates migrations to cloud software that help them remain competitive. "Agile and DevOps are now core processes for development shops," writes Forrester Research analyst Christopher Condon in a roundup of 2019 software trends. "As their adoption spreads, new processes and technologies will layer on top."

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