Hiscox’s commercial website is now 30 percent faster after it implemented software that enables it to optimise the performance of its applications.

The insurance company operates between 30 to 40 discrete software components through a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) powered by Software AG’s webMethods, which Hiscox believes will help the company to scale up its applications as it expands. It uses Microsoft .Net for the front end, and Java technologies for the back end, in addition to a number of legacy technologies.  

Although Hiscox said it uses “best of breed” components, it wanted to ensure that the performance of the applications was continually optimised, which means identifying and resolving issues swiftly.

This was being done in-house, manually with mainly guesswork, until last summer, when Hiscox installed application performance management software from dynaTrace.  

“DynaTrace helps us identify where we can shave off time – for example, the commercial site has seen a 30 percent improvement in speed,” said Andrew Turner, group IT director of Hiscox.

“Being able to optimise components and being able to identify bottlenecks is particularly important, and my team has been using it [dynaTrace] for fine-tuning. It gets to the heart of the issues very quickly, and it’s got a very good set of diagnostics, which allows you to pinpoint problem areas and highlight serious issues to prioritise.”

Another benefit of the dynaTrace application was that it enables Hiscox to track transactions across all the application components, to give a “single transaction view”, so the exact location of issues can be found easily.

Although the majority of Hiscox’s IT is run in-house, Turner said that he hopes to see a move towards the use of more external services in the future. The company currently uses some external services, such as one that provides geospatial information for property risks.

“I also see an opportunity in cloud computing,” he added.

Turner also wants to expand the use of dynaTrace internally for passing data, for example to optimise the performance of the architecture so that underwriters and claims handlers can access the information they need faster and more easily.