XL Capital Resolves Two Critical Needs with Helix ALM
XL Capital uses Helix ALM for two key corporate functions: compliance management and defect tracking. Compliance management users include finance, claims, accounting, management, and internal and external auditors. They utilize a customized workflow managed in Helix ALM consisting of 17 steps with four different parallel processes.
Why XL Capital went with Helix ALM
Functions the system supports
A proven track record
Small license fees
and was easy to install and customize, which meant little, if any, third-party consulting would be required.
AT A GLANCE
- Organization: XL Capital
- Web Site: www.xlgroup.com
- Headquarters: Dublin
- Description: XL Capital improved tracking of regulatory compliance issues and management of the development process workflow with Helix ALM.
XL Capital consists of three divisions: Insurance, Reinsurance, and Financial Products and Services. Compliance management is a global initiative within XL that extends to each of these divisions. XL formed the Financial Internal Controls (FIC) Selection Committee to identify a software solution for managing the FIC Issues Management Process.
The FIC Selection Committee was also responsible for establishing a rigorous management process for identifying and resolving internal financial control deficiencies. This involved not only defining a process but also establishing ownership and accountability with clear roles and responsibilities. Likewise, they needed to enhance management monitoring and reporting capabilities to each business unit, corporate management, and the board of directors.
Compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley
When Doug Alexander learned that XL was evaluating business process management solutions to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404, he knew that the right tool was already available in-house—Helix ALM. XL Insurance, a division of XL Capital, has been using Helix Issue Management (IM) for defect tracking in application development for the past two and a half years. Alexander oversaw the Helix IM installation as vice president, Global Application Development at XL Insurance.
Before Helix IM, XL Insurance used a manual tracking system consisting of a series of spreadsheets to manage defects. However, as more and more applications needed to be managed, the spreadsheet system became impractical and unreliable. That’s when Alexander discovered Helix. Based on his experience with Helix IM, Alexander envisioned using it in a similar manner to track compliance issues and manage the process workflow.
Helix ALM a Clear Winner
A software evaluation and selection process was set up to select a technology system for managing FIC issue resolution and reporting. There were five key areas to consider:
- Range of functions the system supports and the manner in which it performs them
- Hardware and software required to run the system
- Expense estimates to acquire, install, and operate the system
- Skills and training required to implement and support the system
- Implementation activities and time estimates
The software evaluation and selection process consisted of two stages:
1. Vendor Request for Proposal Analysis
An RFP was sent to eight vendors; six responded. Initially Helix ALM was not included in the evaluation, but Alexander’s familiarity with the product led him to contact Rory Burke, who was a member of the Selection Committee. Burke agreed to include Helix ALM in the evaluation.
2. Vendor Software Demonstration Meetings
Responses to the RFP were reviewed and ranked to create a preliminary index of suitability. Four vendors were invited to participate in a live demonstration of their product. Functionality observed during the demonstrations was recorded and ranked.
Of the four vendors who participated in the demonstration meetings, Helix ALM and a popular web-architected process management solution emerged as the favorites. While functionally the two products were similar, Helix ALM was the clear winner. Alexander also constructed a test environment that represented the business processes outlined by the FIC Selection Committee using Helix ALM’s workflow engine. In fact, Helix ALM’s workflow support was a key factor in its selection. Other important factors included the following:
- Helix ALM met all evaluation criteria identified by the FIC Selection Committee.
- Helix ALM had a proven track record within XL Insurance. The FIC team could easily extend it simply by purchasing additional licenses. Conversely, no licenses were held for the web-architected solution.
- Helix ALM’s license fees were a fraction of those of the web-architected solution.
- Helix ALM’s client/server architecture meant that it would not require hosting. The web-architected solution relies on ASP, which would require additional overhead and hosting fees.
- Helix ALM is easy to install and customize, which meant little, if any, third-party consulting would be required.
Improved Compliance Management and Defect Tracking
Once the FIC Selection Committee chose Helix ALM, it took approximately six weeks to implement. This included defining requirements, customization, and cleaning up and loading the data. Alexander and Burke were also able to develop and deliver a training program to seven global locations through a combination of online and on-site classroom sessions.
Today, XL uses Helix ALM for two key corporate functions: compliance management and defect tracking. Compliance management users include finance, claims, accounting, management, and internal and external auditors. They utilize a customized workflow managed in Helix ALM consisting of 17 steps with four different parallel processes.
XL Insurance users include application developers, business analysts, and quality assurance testers. Over 18 different projects are under management in Helix ALM, and Alexander regularly receives requests to create new tracking projects. When he does, he simply clones the template project and walks the team administrator through setting up users and customizing the user interface.
For XL, Helix ALM is one cost-effective solution that meets two critical needs.