Portal Software Selection

A large regional insurance provider selects an open source web CMS portal platform resulting in significant cost savings and operational efficiency.

The Business Need

A large regional insurance company was experiencing difficulty with the ongoing maintenance, update, and expansion of its public facing and agent-only web sites. Business owners needed to engage IT to make any type of change to their web sites and this was done on timeframes often not acceptable to their business owners. IT was not pleased with the use of scarce, high value resources on web page changes that should be managed by the business.

Client IT leadership and Centric determined that to fulfill the long term Enterprise Architecture (EA) vision, a true portal architecture with full web Content Management System (CMS) capabilities was needed.

Centric’s High-Impact Approach

Centric worked with the client to customize its standard software selection methodology to meet the current project’s requirements. A typical software selection involves documenting business requirements, identifying a vendor long list, creating an RFP and submitting it to vendors, evaluating and scoring responses, creating a short list, evaluating short listed vendors via demos, conducting a conference room pilot, and selecting a winner. Due to a compressed timeline, and Centric’s familiarity with these kinds of packages, it was decided to follow the above process without the RFP distribution and scoring steps.

Because there was no time for an RFP, Centric created a detailed evaluation and scoring model needed to narrow the vendor long list down to 3 candidates for hands-on conference room pilot evaluation. Primary vendor evaluation criteria included: overall financial health, ability to support fail-safe and redundant deployment architectures, authorization and authentication requirements, content authoring and contribution, content workflow and management, and application run time environment.

A long list of vendors was identified using various Analyst reports such as CMS Watch (an analyst firm that specializes in CMS package rankings and ratings). Using the evaluation matrix the top five vendors were identified. These vendors were invited to provide demos to the selection team. To further evaluate the vendor offerings the Centric team conducted a condensed 3 day conference room pilot where applications were installed, tested according to specific use cases, and scored.

At the end of the evaluation a winning vendor was selected. Centric worked with our client to negotiate final package pricing.

Results

Centric was able to perform a quick, frugal, yet thorough evaluation and selection in just under 8 weeks. By limiting the requirements to what was truly important, and thinking creatively about possible solutions, the team was able to identify and ultimately select a commercial open source vendor whose price point was dramatically less than other more traditional offerings (< 50% less).

The package has been well received by the client. The business people tasked with ongoing care and feeding of the web site like the tool’s administrative interface. Technologically, the Client is well positioned to roll out advanced functionality that previously would have been much more difficult and not well aligned with their overall EA vision.