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Case study
BETA Healthcare Group

How BETA healthcare used the Agile approach to deliver superior software

BETA Healthcare Group 

BETA Healthcare Group is the largest insurer of hospital professional liability coverage in California, serving more than 200 hospitals and healthcare facilities.

BETA’s long-established commitment to California physicians continues to grow with more than 5,000 insured physicians and over 50 medical groups.

In short // TLDR


Group 1385
Outgrown VFP

Their solution required capabilities FoxPro just couldn’t provide.

Total rewrite

BETA needed to recreate and re-architect its system functionality with entirely new technology.

Few options

Off-the-shelf solutions offered capabilities that didn’t match needs, or costly customizations.


Group 1306.png
Lean & maintainable

A leaner codebase that’s easier to maintain and extend.

Process transformation

Servoy’s Appsurance program transforms productivity with Agile Scrum.

Increasing velocity

Each sprint is faster than the last, delivering tested, functional software every time.

Full version

In addition to primary liability coverage, BETA provides an entire suite of alternative risk and insurance services, including risk management consulting, claims consulting, third-party claims administration services and excess liability coverages. Whether it is hospitals, medical groups, clinics or hospices, BETA has earned a reputation for financial strength, rate stability, quality service and breadth of coverage that is unparalleled in the industry.

While the case for redevelopment was clear and the technology provider was selected, BETA still faced the daunting challenge to re-architect its system, master a new platform and plan and execute the development effort.

When redeveloping a mission-critical system using new technology, the risk cannot be understated, nor can the difficulty of estimating the time and cost. “It’s a massive undertaking to recreate the functionality of our existing system and provide desired enhancements in a new technology platform. One of the greatest challenges has been setting a launch date since the development effort has many complex user stories that must be completed before we can go live.” Audrey Kauffman, Chief Information Officer.

We originally hoped to find an off-the-shelf system to replace Omega, but it soon became clear that our options were limited.”

Audrey Kauffman // Chief Information Officer

Business Case

Over the past decade, BETA has developed an in-house claims and policy management system, code-named Omega. This application provides the data infrastructure, automation and employee workflows that are central to the organization’s mission. Originally developed in Visual FoxPro, Omega has grown to its limits, and over the past eighteen months, BETA has undertaken a new initiative to revitalize and expand its internal system. Code-named “CURIS” to reflect its function as BETA’s new claims, underwriting and risk information system, this development project is the largest systems undertaking embraced by BETA to date.

The obsolescence of Visual FoxPro was a key factor driving the decision to redevelop, as well as an opportunity to enhance security, modernize the user experience and create a foundation for a leaner, more maintainable codebase. This allows BETA to continue to deliver necessary features and enhancements, including a more flexible and sophisticated approach to policy rating. 

Before deciding to redevelop Omega, BETA first evaluated commercial products. “We originally hoped to find an off-the-shelf system to replace Omega, but it soon became clear that our options were limited. Faced with the prospect of either giving up key features or paying for expensive customizations, we realized that our best course of action was to develop a new system in-house.” says Audrey Kauffman, Chief Information Officer. 
Prior to selecting Servoy as its platform and technology partner, BETA and Servoy co-developed a proof-of-concept to verify that Servoy’s technology was a good fit for BETA’s business case. BETA subsequently chose Servoy because “...the success of a proof-of-concept project we did showed us the relative ease and speed of development, and it gave us exposure to (and confidence in) Servoy as a company.” says Kevin Giberson, Senior Programmer.

“The benefit of Agile Scrum is the more you follow it, the easier it gets.”

Reasons for selecting Servoy in BETA’s words

Rapid-application-development capabilities. 

Modern IDE, libraries and tools. 

Excellent client references 

Usable frameworks that include security, layout, and navigation, which allows for a greater focus on business, data and reporting needs rather than having to replicate all the basic functionality that is part of the old codebase. 

The success of a proof-of-concept project we did showed us the relative ease and speed of development, and gave us exposure to (and confidence in) Servoy as a company. 

Cost compared to alternatives. 

Robust and sophisticated data-handling features.

An Agile Solution

BETA also selected Servoy as a consulting partner in its redevelopment effort, engaging in Servoy’s Appsurance Program, an implementation tool designed to maximize ROI and mitigate risk through continuous monitoring and reinforcement of architectural and operational best practices. Among other things, the Appsurance Program facilitates the adoption of Agile Scrum within an organization.

According to Quail Hill, BETA’s Senior Programmer and Data Analyst, “This was a completely new methodology for us. Up until starting this project, we were using a modified waterfall methodology. Learning how to write user stories, poker, and plan our sprints was a big change. It was also a challenge to refrain from doing more than the user story specified because we were used to developing the whole project. We have now overcome these challenges and fully embrace Agile Scrum. The benefit of Agile Scrum is the more you follow it, the easier it gets.”

While BETA is still working on its end product, which is due to be released in 2016, it is delivering fully tested, production ready software every sprint.

Having made the necessary investments into the Agile process, BETA has been able to leverage performance metrics to generate real insight, leading it to a place of confidence when managing resources, risk and technical debt. “We are now a year and a half into our redevelopment and I think the ROI is becoming increasingly apparent. We can look back on our completed sprints and see how our velocity improves. Using that data, we can look at our backlog and easily project the next quarter. This is going to be even more helpful as we finish developing the backlog.” Quail Hill, Senior Programmer and Data Analyst.

BETA’s approach is a model for success and demonstrates the efficacy of the Agile methodology when applied by a disciplined organization using a technology platform that provides the infrastructure needed to go Agile.

The end

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