Moving to a composable solution is the ticket to creating the agile brand experiences customers expect. But getting there can sound easier said than done when your brand has years of legacy investments behind it.
For American Family Insurance (AMFAM), a company that has been in business since 1927, Sitecore’s cloud-native digital experience platform (DXP) is the solution they’ve selected for the journey because the company could take an incremental approach to modernizing its tech stack.
At Sitecore DX 2023 Minneapolis, AMFAM shared a preview of the migration strategy and outcomes, including return on investment (ROI) realization in just 16 months. The company is working with Sitecore solution partner Horizontal Digital to achieve its modern technology goals.
Here are key takeaways from what Shilpa Ganapathineedi, Area Vice President of Applications and Agency IT at American Family Insurance, and Sheetal Jain, CTO of Global Delivery at Horizontal Digital, shared during a breakout session.
What led AMFAM to move to composable?
Based in Wisconsin, American Family Insurance converted to a mutual holding company structure in 2017, which allowed the company to acquire non-insurance companies and pursue mergers with other mutual insurance organizations.
The AMFAM brand currently includes auto, homeowners, life, commercial, and farm and ranch insurance, primarily sold through exclusive, independent agency owners in 19 states. Plus, the company finds many brokerage solutions for agency owners through its network of carrier partners for commercial, personal, life, and specialty risks not offered by AMFAM.
Shilpa shared that the next step for AMFAM is to build technology that survives the company’s next 96 years of business, while taking a consolidated approach to cater to the needs of their customers across its acquired offerings. During a recent relaunch of its website, AMFAM took the opportunity to start the path from monolithic to composable infrastructure with Sitecore.
“Our vision at American Family Insurance, is to be the most trusted and valued customer-driven insurance company,” she said. “That is the strategy that we live and breathe every day.”
AMFAM’s 6 technology considerations:
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – The rising cost of scaling infrastructure kept increasing existing operational costs
- Update vs. upgrade – Conundrum between upgrade to a newer version of Sitecore’s on-premises solution or move to a SaaS-based platform that removed the need for such upgrades
- Technology upkeep – Compliance and new features often meant upgrades, which hindered innovation and speed to market
- Right tool for the job – Not being able to integrate various products in the organizations to get a complete, cohesive view of the customer
- Performance – Not able to cross 50% on Google core web vitals, despite doing everything they could
- Technology talent – Sitecore-specific skill kept becoming more and more expensive and hard to find and retain
Core principles of composable
A composable DXP solution, or cloud-based SaaS infrastructure, is the alternative to a monolithic platform, or on-premises, technology. Sheetal shared how adopting composable is more than a technology choice, involving people, process, data, and tools.
“Tools is only one aspect of it — that’s where the composable suite of products from Sitecore comes to the victor,” Sheetal shared. “But having composable teams, having composable processes, and having a composable mindset is really important.”
The example he gave – instead of having designated content teams for various channels, such as a web content team, a social media content team, etc., composable is about having a central content team with the tools to create and manage content across all channels.
Sitecore XM Cloud, for example, offers fully composable functionality that goes beyond a content management system (CMS) to serve as a foundational starting point to create this shift within a company and grow, he shared. Sitecore’s SaaS offerings also have automatic updates eliminating the need for platform upgrades.
“There are very defined use cases for every customer to think about for how and when to choose composable,” Sheetal said. “Some of the simple things to think about, if it takes more than a week for you to deploy something, probably something is not right. Secondly, consider how do I make sure I’m not just spending time just trying to maintain a piece of technology.”
AMFAM’s path to composable
While every organization’s move to composable will be different, AMFAM is taking a two-step approach. Before making the move, it was important that Sitecore XM Cloud included SOC2 security compliance, which became available this year. So Horizontal Digital helped prepare AMFAM for when the solution would be ideal for adoption.
The first step included decoupling and modernizing its current monolithic Sitecore technology by moving from Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) to Sitecore Experience Manager (XM). This helped with faster time to market and lower cost for new front-end experiences.
“This is where you have the opportunity to test and learn,” Shilpa said. “You don’t have to go all the way to Step 3. Start with small steps, gain those learnings, iterate, and repeat it.”
Outcomes and the path ahead
This journey to composable helped AMFAM move away from six content delivery services to one. They are already seeing value and expect to see ROI realization in 16 months, meaning the solution will pay for itself within that time period, Sheetal shared.
- 75% reduction in hosting costs
- 46% reduction in annual spend
- 50% increase in time to market
- 500 hours/month of human capitol savings
“Composable is a mindset, it’s a philosophy of creating your next generation of business model to meet your customers where you need to,” Shilpa said.
To read more breakout sessions from Sitecore DX Minneapolis or the other DX events that Sitecore has hosted in 2023 in London, Boston, or Sydney, visit our DX events page.
Monica Lara is Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Sitecore. Follow her on LinkedIn.