There was a time when business processes were presumed to be the bedrock foundation of a company — when what one did and how it went about doing it was thought to define the nature of that company for decades hence. But as Opal Perry, Allstate’s vice president for technology and strategic ventures, told The New Stack’s Alex Williams, competition in today’s business centers around servicing customers. And those customers’ changing expectations — changed all too often by competitors — form the foundations of modern businesses. So it’s critical that those foundations be flexible and even malleable.
“We talk a lot about moving from a project-focused organization to a product-focused organization,” said Perry. “I kind of use that word ‘product’ interchangeably with the services used to develop it. Having smaller teams co-located — as part of our network, we are multi-location as a large enterprise. We’ve got teams in different places. We’ve been working on defining ownership of our products and services for each individual team, and empowering them to be self-directed in building what needs to [be built]… We need to integrate back up and make it part of the whole. All of it is in service to the business.”
Perry agreed with Williams that today’s business models are still analogous to factory floors, but that modern automation tools make it feasible for those factories, if you will, to be reconfigurable. Analytics practices can help by predicting failures in processes before they happen.
As the intellectual shift proceeds, how does an institution founded in 1931 continue to institute the tremendous changes ahead for its business processes, while simultaneously reinforcing its image of providing “steady hands” for the customers facing sudden changes in their lives? Listen now to “Allstate Navigates a Sea Change in Business Processes,” a The New Stack Makers podcast from the last Cloud Foundry Summit in Santa Clara.
3:06: Discussing the organizational structure behind building Allstate’s new distributed system.
4:50: How Allstate has made the transition to CI/CD when dismantling its monolith.
7:15: Deployment patterns in Allstate’s CI/CD environments.
12:18: How Allstate approaches API management and REST-based APIs.
15:36: What tools Allstate is using for monitoring and management in distributed environments
19:29: Exploring some of the coming challenges Allstate is looking to tackle.
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