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Insuring a More Efficient Future With Project Apollo

Published June 17 2021
Louise Carbonneau, Strategic Consultant
Louise Carbonneau
Strategic Consultant
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Project Apollo helps insurance company to modernize complex processes

When the R3D team was asked to deliver a $16 million component of an overall $35 million modernization project investment for La Capitale, the recently welcomed Alithyans jumped at the opportunity. Having acquired vast amounts of technological expertise over the course of their careers, the team members viewed it as an exciting challenge for conducting the project in a completely agile manner, which was a novelty at the time for a project of its scope.

A unifying solution

Following an internal audit report at La Capitale that identified several areas where the client needed to automate and improve efficiencies, development of Project Apollo began in earnest in April 2017. The mandate focused primarily on the disability benefits component of La Capitale’s business, as well as modernizing the company’s expansive collective and group insurance dossiers. The team oversaw all of the program leadership, accounting, finance, change management, and project management aspects of the endeavour, while working in parallel to modify the company’s BI capabilities and to prepare all stakeholder sectors for implementation of the solution.

The winds of change

An overall change management strategy was developed and rolled out for all of the change management consultants who supported the various components of the program, including Project Apollo. Prior to deploying Apollo, the client relied on manual input registered on numerous Excel spreadsheets, which inherently enabled the potential for disparities due to human error in calculating benefits and manually entering data. Project Apollo delivered a solution to systematize and automate all of the company’s calculations, with the capacity to make all of the necessary calculations and to issue payments based on information entered by technicians and analysts. Project Apollo also provided a solution that integrates the processes of La Capitale offices in both Quebec City and Mississauga, where existing procedures varied in terms of how people worked and the types of contracts that each office handled. The team was able to deliver a national solution for the client that consolidates and simplifies processes across the board.

Project Apollo essentially transported La Capitale from a manual input world of filing cabinets to a paperless office in the digital world, and altering the way that people do things so dramatically is the very definition of change. Some people are resistant to being moved out of their comfort zones, so change management becomes an essential component of any project of this magnitude. Change management is about re-educating people on how to conduct familiar services with brand new processes, the latter which are driven by a completely new tool. In addition to easing the return to a comfort zone for employees, change management is also an essential process at the corporate level. Companies like La Capitale have made substantial investments over the years to adopt systems that are relied upon in the insurance industry, which makes it a harder decision to abandon that road in lieu of a new solution requiring additional investment and effort.

The change management strategy was developed around the concept of ‘incubators’, which involved breaking down the process to support multiple small teams in learning how to harness the new technology. Training was conducted alongside experts who had participated in setting up the solution, as well as members of the IT team, ensuring that the right person was always there to provide the right answer to any questions. Additionally, all new procedures and processes were documented, providing the client with the necessary materials to develop their own internal training program for new employees moving forward.

A new digital future

Project Apollo entered production in Spring 2018 and was completed in Spring 2019, six months ahead of the 24-month initial projection of the mandate. Apollo is a solution that continues to evolve and, in addition to addressing the immediate concerns contained in the mandate, it is a forward-looking solution that provides La Capitale with scalability to ensure that new services can be easily integrated in the future. The success of the project validates the investment, which in the case of La Capitale comes during a simultaneous corporate restructuring and re-emergence as Beneva. And as Beneva’s legacy begins, the company is already using our modernization implementations to support their future endeavors in the digital world.

From an Alithya perspective, Project Apollo, like every project, provided an opportunity to further hone the skills and expertise of our professionals. Every project of this magnitude encounters little bumps along the road to success, but that just motivates Alithya’s experts to test everything to perfection as part of a strategy designed to ensure that we continuously evolve.