These days there are so many options for getting insurance. It’s difficult to drive down a highway or turn on the television without encountering a clever insurance ad. Then there’s The Hartford, an insurance company that wrote a policy for both Abraham Lincoln and Babe Ruth. A property and casualty company with a history longer than most American states that serves almost 40 million individuals and one million small businesses. A Fortune 500 company with over 200 years of insurance experience, The Hartford knows what it means to be sustainable. They’ve embraced technologic innovations, making Artificial Intelligence, Drones, and IOT an integral part of their Business Model. They continue to adapt to an increasingly digital world by embracing the right tools to transform its product offerings and meet the needs of its digital-minded clients.
Prior to 2016, The Hartford used a functional source control system, but required a more evolved process for developing and delivering code – one that focused on speed and quality. With a DevOps program in place, and by partnering with GitHub, more opportunities and capabilities were created for the company beyond serving as a code repository. By switching to GitHub Enterprise, The Hartford set up an end-to-end DevOps ecosystem that gave their developers more access to repositories along with established tools that were integrated in the system.
“GitHub helped drive our Cultural change, making collaboration natural and easy,” said Jo Ann Tan, Vice President and Head of Infrastructure at The Hartford. “It created opportunities to develop effective and beneficial cross-team relationships, it provided a natural path to connect and develop our talent”.
GitHub evolved beyond a code repository to become an integral part of The Hartford’s development tool chain. They are supporting more automated infrastructure code as well as a custom gating process that loops back with their IT infrastructure to ensure their code is secure. The Hartford created an extensive and robust network of tools that work with GitHub to manage development at every step from integration and virtualization to assessing vulnerability. GitHub is core to The Hartford’s annual Code-a-Thon, which challenged more than 200 Developers on 45 teams to showcase and expand their skills.
“GitHub is really the start of everything,” said Rich Tehan, Director of IT Automation Engineering. “When we talk about activating our entire CI/CD process, this is where the developers spend their time. We have all of these different capabilities built into the pipeline including SonaType for managing and securing binaries, SonarQube for quality scanning, and Checkmarx for vulnerability scanning. Developers set it up once, and then they’re living in GitHub who ensures that every step in the process is being automated correctly. ”
The GitHub platform has enabled us to exponentially raise the productivity of our developers and position us to meaningfully contribute back to the open community.
Integrating GitHub with SonaType has been particularly key for facilitating The Hartford’s open source projects, especially to ensure that they’re using the most updated libraries for their code. They plan to expand their innersource projects for applications and infrastructure as well, which would give every developer the freedom to not only share their work with the world, but also support each other.
Expanding their innersource projects is also a natural bridge to bringing open source processes back to the team, which is also the theme of The Hartford’s annual DevOps summit this year. Implementing more open source practices and making code more usable helps developers take their mature innersource program and scale it across the company even farther. Their hope is by opening up more code repositories, they can begin to measure how many people are making pull requests and contributing to different repositories.
“Our development teams have benefited from the collaborative features of GitHub. It allows them to take co-development to a whole new level by working as a community and maturing our innersourcing practices,” said Tan “The GitHub platform has enabled us to exponentially raise the productivity of our developers and position us to meaningfully contribute back to the open community.”
In addition to modernizing their ecosystem, GitHub has been key to The Hartford’s enablement of collaboration between developers and other cross-functional teams, as well as facilitating more tracking across the organization. This allows managers to move away from hands-on project management and stick to keeping a general eye on work at each stage.
“When we look at the overall progress of a project, it’s great, but we also have different roles and functions that can all collaborate on one repository. I can see who’s involved in a project from a high level and make sure that our issues are getting resolved,” Tehan added. “It’s definitely been beneficial for us.”
Developers at The Hartford have already measured other successes, including cutting down deployment time on some projects from six months or a year to an impressive two weeks, while maintaining a small team and low overhead. GitHub has even helped The Hartford attract new developers by making it clear that their team uses current tools and offers flexibility to developers, while still keeping the environment under steady control. Developers new to GitHub can also take classes from beginner to expert-level on how to work within the platform.
Going forward, The Hartford plans to continue their digital transformation by pushing for more of an open community in their development culture that includes relying heavily on their partnership with GitHub.
“We’ve invested in GitHub—but GitHub has also invested in us,” Tehan said. “We’re working together to ensure that both companies make the most out of the platform by helping it effectively gain traction while making the larger community aware of what we’ve learned.”
Kris Nova quickly developed a passion for open source software. Now she gets to work on open source tooling at her day job, which includes maintaining Kubernetes Operations (kops).
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