Liberty Mutual Awards Pivotal Innovation Partner of the Year

March 15, 2018 Jeff Kelly


It’s always exciting to win an award. But it's especially humbling when a venerated company such as Liberty Mutual recognizes you for helping transform how it builds software. That’s why we're thrilled and honored that Pivotal has been recognized by Liberty Mutual as its IT Supplier of the Year for Innovation.   

“Accelerating our IT Transformation and speed to market is critical to our success. Our partnerships with innovative suppliers like Pivotal and Fusion, among many others, are helping us navigate this journey,” said Liberty Mutual Insurance Chief Information Officer James McGlennon.

Congratulations to the Pivotal team, including Strategic Client Executive Larissa Nigro, Advisory Platform Architect Chuck D’Antonio and Pivotal Labs Director Simon Holroyd.

“Liberty's leadership was a huge enabler to Pivotal being successful,” said Holroyd. “Leadership embraced development team autonomy and made significant changes to how it manages teams and funding to improve agility.”

But as much as we appreciate the award, most of the credit for Liberty Mutual’s successful (and ongoing) digital transformation must go to the company’s developers, IT pros, line of business workers and executive leadership who took the Pivotal partnership and turned it into real, tangible results. It required them to embrace change and new ways of working, which can be a scary prospect, especially in a company with as successful a track record as Liberty Mutual. But they embraced the Pivotal Way wholeheartedly, eager to take advantage of new technologies and new ways of building software to redefine its relationship with customers in the digital era.

“One of the keys to Liberty’s successful transformation is establishing very clear strategy, vision, rationale and goals," said Nigro. “Having that in place and well understood throughout all levels of the company has really enabled Liberty’s transformation efforts to thrive.”

Consider that prior to working with Pivotal, it took months, sometimes years to move an idea for new software or a new application from conception to production at Liberty Mutual. On day one working with Pivotal, “we took 37 applications in a single day and identified the 12 we were going to tackle,” said John Heveran, senior vice president and CIO for commercial insurance at Liberty Mutual. “And two of those we even developed in that same day what the MVP was going to be. And then the next day the team started with the Pivots and started coding. You have to understand for a company like ours, this was radical. No PowerPoints. No Visio. No roadmaps. Just stickies and people writing code.”

And that was just the start. Liberty Mutual set aggressive targets for what it wanted to accomplish as part of its digital transformation and it has exceeded expectations. Today, over 1,000 developers are building software on Pivotal Cloud Foundry with more than 1,000 applications running on the platform.

Perhaps most importantly of all, the company has put customer feedback at the center of the software development process and is iterating on and releasing code to production faster than ever. According to Liberty Mutual, workloads deployed to Pivotal Cloud Foundry are being released and delivered into production four times faster than workload outside of Pivotal Cloud Foundry. Applications that were once updated monthly or quarterly are now getting new features on a weekly and sometimes daily basis.

That speed is critical to Liberty Mutual’s continued success, as the insurance industry undergoes its own transformation thanks to ever demanding customer expectations. It is important for Liberty Mutual to bring new ideas to market quickly, so it can begin refining and improving them. As Vice President and Senior Director of IT Johnathan Reardon put it: “You truly don’t start learning until you deliver something to market.”

That certainly proved true with Liberty Mutual’s new motorcycle insurance application, which the team delivered in only 28 days with help from Pivotal. Within ten hours of release in April 2017, it had delivered its first quote. From there, the team pushed 45 releases to production in the 55 days after the initial launch, all based on how customers were interacting with the app. By August 2017, about four months after launch and with virtually no advertising, the application was producing an average of 20 quotes per day. While the average auto and home insurance conversion rate is about 1%, the motorcycle insurance app boasts an amazing 11% conversion rate.

Said McGlennon:

"One of the things we've learned is that if you can't get it to market more quickly, there is no doubt that the market will have changed and no matter how well you've engineered it or built it or deployed it or trained your folks, it's not going to be quite right because it's just a little too late."

Once again, we’re thrilled and honored to be recognized by Liberty Mutual. Their successful transformation has been remarkable. We can’t wait to continue the journey with you!

About the Author

Jeff Kelly

Jeff Kelly is a Director of Partner Marketing at Pivotal Software. Prior to joining Pivotal, Jeff was the lead industry analyst covering Big Data analytics at Wikibon. Before that, Jeff covered enterprise software as a reporter and editor at TechTarget. He received his B.A. in American studies from Providence College and his M.A. in journalism from Northeastern University.

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