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Wholesale insurance broker modernizes its core application to support a new line of business


Most software, over time, ends up accumulating technical debt which makes it inflexible and costly to maintain. This makes modernizing software both a business and technical imperative.

Modernizing legacy systems, while necessary, is a complex undertaking. These systems support existing users and therefore modernization efforts have significant business disruption risks. Furthermore, these systems rarely have documentation and rely on the knowledge of a handful of people, which adds operational risks for the company.

This was the case with this client’s application which supported their core business functions. The client is a wholesale distributor of specialty insurance products and services including property, casualty and group benefit products.

The Problem

The client was starting a new business division targeted at small businesses which would require significant changes to the existing application. Their team realized that it was time to modernize but they lacked the expertise to undertake such a large project on their own. They engaged ProductStack because of our expertise and experience in modernizing complex software.


“If you’re building modern software products and you care about speed-to-market and software quality, then you must take a look at ProductStack. We’re glad that we did.”

ProductStack's Role

Product Definition & Planning

ProductStack was initially engaged to help the client define an approach to modernize the application and then scope, estimate, and plan the project.

ProductStack kicked off the project by conducting story mapping workshops with the business users to understand the capabilities they needed for the new line of business. The findings were then compared to the features in the current application to identify the functional gaps.

After understanding the business requirements, ProductStack conducted architectural and code reviews of the existing application to identify areas of technical debt.

Learn more about Product Definition and Planning Workshop.

Product Development

In the first phase, the team would modernize the presentation layer and create an API layer to encapsulate the complex back-end logic. This would allow the application to be modernized, while still retaining the company’s investment in the existing application. Then in the second phase, the team would modernize the code behind the API layer.

The client engaged ProductStack to develop the user interface layer of the new application while their team was responsible for developing the API layer and integrating it with the existing application. This allowed the client to benefit from ProductStack’s expertise in user-centered design and at the same time, leverage the knowledge of their internal team members.

This approach had the following benefits:
1) It reduced the size and complexity of the project, thereby reducing project risks.
2) It accelerated the speed-to-market for this new line of business by reusing the existing product’s capabilities.

Learn more about Product Development Services.

Key Takeaways

For this project, ProductStack recommended a multi-phased approach to modernize the application. This mitigated project risks by breaking the project into manageable chunks. It also provided a structured approach to reducing and eliminating technical debt from the existing product.


The client stakeholders, in just a few weeks, developed a shared project vision by engaging in ProductStack’s Product Definition and Planning Workshop. This engagement helped the client scope, estimate, and plan their project.


ProductStack helped the client design a modern architecture for the new application. Then the ProductStack team collaborated with the client’s team to develop high-quality software using modern technologies.



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