Laurent is a Certified ScrumMaster!

As you may know, we are more and more using Scrum as a team-based framework for developing our Skye® standard software product (front-end solution for insurances) at Innoveo.

What is Scrum? (ScrumAlliance definition)

Scrum: A team-based framework to develop complex systems and products.

Scrum is an iterative, incremental framework for developing any product or managing any work. It allows teams to deliver a potentially shippable set of functionality every iteration, providing the agility needed to respond to rapidly changing requirements.

The Scrum framework constantly challenges its users to focus on improvement, and its Sprints provide the stability to address the ever-changing needs that occur in any project.

These characteristics have led to Scrum becoming the most popular method in the world of agile software development.

We are consequently very proud to inform you that Laurent Kempé, who is acting as our Innoveo ScrumMaster besides being our internal “Scrum champion”, has successfully passed his ScrumMaster certification!

Congratulation to Laurent for this nice step and recognition.

Next step is now to apply for the next level: Certified Scrum Practitioner, as shown below (ScrumAlliance certification process):

cross-posted on the Innoveo blog

Innoveo is a member of the Oracle PartnerNetwork

oracle[1] Innoveo Solutions enjoys its new membership to the Oracle PartnerNetwork, which is illustrating the long and successful deployment of our insurance frontend solution – Innoveo Skye® integrating Oracle databases.

Our partnership with Oracle helps us to leverage our expertise and build on the strong foundation that Oracle’s technology provides.

Innoveo news.

Cross-posted on the Innoveo blog.

Comparison of Open Source Application Servers


I have found – by accident really! – a very interesting presentation on SlideShare concerning the different leading Open Source Application Servers on the market.

This very solid evaluation is proposed by OpenLogic.

I have summarized parts of it below.

Goal of the presentation /

Help you choose which open source application servers to evaluate more thoroughly:

  • JBoss
  • GlassFish
  • dm Server
  • Geronimo
  • Tomcat

Which open source application servers are your using or considering using /


J2EE Didn’t Fill the Need /

  • EJB 2 is difficult to use
    • Many people consider it unnecessary difficult
    • Entity Beans were especially problematic
    • But even session beans earned bad reputations
  • The Open Source community responds
    • OSS packages mitigating the problem
      • Hibernate instead of Entity Beans
      • Spring as a component model
    • They were very successful in the marketplace
  • Many Spring/Hibernate applications
    • Required only Tomcat to run but also work in full app servers

When Tomcat Is Not Enough /

  • Tomcat doesn’t support
    • JMS
    • EJBs
    • Other…
  • Enterprises need integration
    • The more mature the app is, the more likely it is to be added
  • Add-ons
    • It was possible to add things that Tomcat was missing
    • But this became a “build your own Frankenstein” exercise

Java Enterprise Edition in the Meantime /

  • Weaknesses in EJB 2 model were recognized
  • Work on new specification was completed
    • J2EE → JEE 5
    • EJB 2 → EJB 3
      • Entity Beans → JPA
  • EJB 3
    • Simple annotation-based programming model
    • Not everybody adopted EJB 3
  • JEE 6 will embrace modularity
    • Profiles, including web profile

Choices in 2007 /

  • Use Spring
    • Start with full app server
    • Start with Tomcat, build from there
  • Use EJB 3
    • Requires full app servers
  • Full application server
    • Pros – everything you are likely to need, could use EJB
    • Cons – complexity, might use more resources then Tomcat
  • Tomcat
    • Pros – small, simple, low resource usage
    • Cons – you might need to build your own app server, no EJB

OSGi /

  • Started in 1999
    • Recently got a lot of exposure
    • In particular, R 4.1
      • JSR-294
  • OSGi brings
    • Dependency management and modularity
    • Ability to load only parts it needs
  • OSGi currently has a lot of mindshare

The central questions /

  • Decisions, decisions
    • EJB 3 or Spring
    • Spring on dm Server or on J2EE/JEE server?
    • OSGi or not OSGi
    • Do I need EJB 2 compatibility?
    • In addition, there are many “old” considerations
  • Servers are not “all inclusive”
    • EJB 3 apps won’t work on SpringSource dm Server or Tomcat

Assessment JBoss /

JBoss Thought Leadership

  • Complete ecosystem
    • Portal
    • ESB
    • BPM
  • JBoss has history of innovation
    • Pioneer of EJB 3
    • Seam Application Framework
    • Web Beans
  • OSGi
    • Support in JBoss 5

JBoss for Developers

  • Excellent customizability
    • JMX-based, don’t deploy what you don’t need
  • Seam is worth a look for developers
  • JDK 6 with 4.2.3 and 5.0 GA
    • JDK 5 compiled binaries work on both JDK 5 and JDK 6
  • JBoss IDE
    • Eclipse-based
    • JBoss Tools
      • Free version (RHDS is paid version)

JBoss in Production

  • Dependability
    • Excellent clustering and failover capability
    • Reliable in production
  • Monitoring and deployment capabilities
    • Not really oriented toward system administration out of the box
      • Command line/file edit flavor of configuration
      • GUI tools (Tomcat manager and JMX Console) are fairly basic
    • Excellent 3rd party tools available for monitoring
      • Hyperic
      • GroundWork IT
      • JON *

JBoss – Conclusions

  • Strengths
    • Mature, scalable and reliable
    • Good support for J2EE and EJB 3
    • Seam framework
  • Weaknesses
    • Limited GUI-based configuration in open source version
    • LGPL License may be a concern for ISV’s embedding app servers

Assessment SpringSource dm Server /

SpringSource dm Server

  • Newcomer
    • Released in April of 2008
    • GPL license
    • Incorporates many mature components
      • Spring Framework
      • Tomcat
      • Equinox
    • dm Server users are very early adopters
  • Different take on app server
    • OSGi support
    • No support for EJB
    • No JMS out of the box

dm Server for Developers

  • Server works well with Spring Framework
  • IDE
    • Spring IDE – IDE for Eclipse platform
    • Support for NetBeans and IntelliJ
  • OSGi support
    • Resolves “dependency hell”
    • But requires application migration to take advantage of it
  • Supports Java 5 and 6

dm Server Thought Leadership

  • OSGi-based
    • Good OSGi implementation
    • OSGi discussed a lot in their documentation
  • No support for EJB
    • No support for EJB 3 or old EJB 2 spec
  • Spring offers similar functionality to Seam
    • Which is somewhat more mature
    • Although some of the Seam ideas might be somewhat more powerful
      • Bijection

dm Server – Conclusions

  • Strengths
    • Support for Spring Framework
    • Support for OSGi
  • Weaknesses
    • Newcomer
    • No EJB
    • Limited experience among workforce

Assessment Tomcat /


  • First release (3.0.x) in 1999
    • Apache license
  • Servlet container
    • Lightweight server
  • Used in many other app servers
    • JBoss
    • dm Server
    • Geronimo

Tomcat – Conclusions

  • Strengths
    • Lightweight
    • Well known and tested
    • < li>Fast startup/deployment for development

  • Weaknesses
    • No support for EJB, JMS or almost anything else outside of “web side”
  • Tomcat in Development and Production

    • Tomcat 6 supports
      • Clustering
      • Failover
    • Widely used for both development and production
    • Supported in most popular IDEs

    Conclusions /

    • App servers are not just about the JEE specs
    • Make some high-level decisions before evaluation
      • Do I need EJB 2 compatibility?
      • Do I intend to follow EJB 3 and other industry standards?
      • Do I need something fast, lightweight, and easy to use?
      • Do I have a need for lifecycle management of server components (through OSGi)?
      • Do I need support for dynamic languages like Groovy and JRuby?
      • Am I an early adopter of new technology?

    Recommendations /

    • “I’m using EJBs and I’m conservative”
      • JBoss, GlassFish
    • “I don’t need XA/JMS/EJB”
      • Tomcat, JBoss, GlassFish, dm Server
    • “I’m using Spring”
      • Conservative – JBoss, Tomcat, GlassFish
      • Leading edge – dm Server
    • “I need to embed an app server in my commercial code”
      • Tomcat, Geronimo
    • “I use Spring heavily and I need OSGi”
      • I need it today and don’t need EJBs – dm Server
      • I need it soon and/or need EJBs – GlassFish, JBoss
    • “I use Seam”
      • JBoss
    • “I want ActiveMQ/Spring/Hibernate preinstalled”
      • Geronimo
    • “I need dynamic language support”
      • Groovy/Grails – dm Server, JBoss, GlassFish
      • JRuby/Rails – GlassFish, Geronimo

    Innoveo Skye – Product strategy workshop

    Yesterday and today, workshop with the Innoveo Management Team near Zurich for refining and documenting our Innoveo Skye™ (content, scope, roadmap) software solution for insurances (front-end and distribution).

    More information there about Skye™.


    Innoveo – A real life example of productive SOA solutions

    soa for dummies

    Two years ago a first version of the publication “Service Oriented Architecture for Dummies” has been published. Therein our reference customer, the Helvetia Insurance Group, was mentioned together with the solution we have successfully put in place for them.

    In the second, reviewed edition, Innoveo has been dedicated again one full chapter of the book. Still our solution is considered to be a practical, state of the art example of how SOA can work in real life, creating both, an enhanced efficiency and cost optimization on the IT side as well as real business benefits on the customer side.

    We are proud of having been selected by Judith Hurwitz for her book and we wish Judith again an amazing success with this new publication.

    Find more information about the book on Judith Hurwitz’s Weblog. Judith is one of the authors and we’ve had the pleasure to be directly in contact with her to discuss the content and the progresses we’ve made in the time between the first and the second edition.

    You can order the book at

    Get additional information about our consulting services and our insurance frontend solution Innoveo Skye™ by visiting our company website.

    cross-posted as Innoveo News.

    Scenarios For 2009: How CIOs Should Prepare (Forrester research)

    via Ed Cone

    Ed is pointing to a very interesting document from Forrester about the reactions of CIOs, classified by sectors. Including the Finance &  Insurance industries.

    For the Insurance Industry, the analysis of Forrester is quite aligned with what we are perceiving at Innoveo.

    The analysis is very recent and was presented during a webinar on December 11, 2008.

    What is the insurance industry doing to address the downturn?

    • Anticipating more cut backs for 2009.
    • Insurance has already made significant cuts in IT spending early in 2008.
    • Growth in IT purchases for Finance & Insurance:
      • 2007: +8%
      • 2008: -2%
      • 2009: -3%

    How will the recession affect the Insurance Industry?

    • Shallow recession: GOOD
    • Deep recession: NEUTRAL

    What are firms in these sectors doing to address the downturn?

    • Most firms focus on IT’s traditional cost-cutting tactics.
    • New investments (30% of the overall costs):
      • Portfolio segmentation
        • Use commodity / low-cost resources
        • Eliminate large-sized efforts
        • Focus on short-term returns
      • Adopt lean thinking, reduce complexity
      • Shorten planning horizons
    • Operational costs (70% of the overall costs):
      • Consolidation/standardization, consistent with the business model
        • Data centers, server/storage virtualization
        • Consolidate and squeeze vendors
        • Centralization of IT contracts
      • Lean thinking — reduce complexity,
      • Staff and asset utilization optimization
        • Delay upgrades and refresh
        • Downgrade for lower volumes
        • Automate where it makes sense

    The Finance & Insurance sectors are considering to invest in the following actions in 2009:

    • Retiring older applications or technologies to save support costs 50%
    • Adjusting project portfolios to increase near-term return on investment 55%
    • Assessing the IT organization structure to improve efficiencies 60%
    • Investing in technologies such as automation to reduce IT operating costs 70%

    Leading firms take multiple alternative approaches:

    • Traditional IT tactics to deliver short-term results
    • Agility to offer alternatives in the long run — providing a lasting ability to rapidly shift partners, customers, and markets
      • Focus on increasing ability to change: adding/removing services, reselling services from third parties, channel integration
      • Focus on external interfaces to data and systems
        • Apply SOA for strategic flexibility
        • Look to third parties for flexible interfaces
      • Increase flexibility of contracts
      • Employ agile development methodologies
    • Innovation to accelerate out of the downturn — new business models and product/service offerings in addition to operational improvements
      • Accelerating out of the downturn requires a strategic focus, but without higher overall costs
      • Use a portion of CapEx for innovative ideas
      • Focus innovation criteria on business strategies
      • Use Web 2.0 technologies to farm ideas from across your Innovation Network — internal and external
      • Employ a different idea pipeline / steering committee
      • Keep investment performance metrics

    Summary for the Finance & Insurance sectors:


    summary forrester

    Innoveo Skye, a Swiss made software!

    swiss made software

    At Innoveo, we are member of the swiss made software community, since our creation.

    “swiss made software” is the new label of the Swiss software industry. International software companies like Google, IBM or Microsoft have discovered the Swiss values – quality, reliability and precision – in software development and have established important research and development centers in Switzerland. If you are looking for Swiss values and innovation, openness and flexibility in software, choose your partner from this site.

    Our software product – Innoveo Skye – is now also listed in the new product part of the swiss made software website.

    Description: Innoveo Skye is a generic, flexible insurance sales solution. It supports an unlimited number of products and services, all lines of business (life and non-life) and all sales channels. Industrialize  
    Technology: Insurance-specific, J2EE (TM) based IT solution on commercial (Weblogic (TM), Websphere (TM), …) and open source (JBoss (TM)) infrastructure stacks, together with a wide range of business-oriented services. 

    Articles, conferences, reports, books, collaterals and video

    Above an updated list (per October 18, 2008) of the different publications, articles, conferences, reports, books, collaterals and video linked with my work in the last years by Helvetia, ecenter solutions, and now, innoveo!


    1 31.10.2002 German, English Switzerland Schweizer Versicherung pdf DE, pdf EN, url
    2 26.11.2004 French France 01 Informatique pdf, url
    3 06.01.2006 English USA CIO Insight pdf, url
    4 01.02.2006 English Rusia The Insurer pdf, url
    5 11.04.2006 English USA FinanceOnWindow pdf, url
    6 11.04.2006 English USA Finextra pdf, url
    7 12.04.2006 English USA CRMtoday pdf, url
    8 13.04.2006 English USA InfoWorld pdf, url
    9 20.04.2006 English Australia ComputerWorld Australia pdf, url
    10 24.04.2006 English USA ComputerWorld pdf, url
    11 30.04.2006 English USA Enterprise Networks&Servers; pdf, url
    12 15.05.2006 English NewZealand ComputerWorld NewZealand pdf, url
    13 30.06.2006 German Switzerland Netzwoche pdf, url
    14 01.07.2006 English USA Insurance Networking pdf, url
    15 10.07.2006 English USA Computerwire pdf, url
    16 24.07.2006 English USA GlobalServices pdf, url
    17 04.09.2006 German Germany ComputerZeitung pdf, url
    18 06.11.2006 English USA Baseline pdf, url
    19 01.11.2007 German Switzerland ICT in Finance pdf, url
    1 16.04.2003 German Switzerland Euroforum – VersicherungsIT pdf, url
    2 15.09.2005 German Switzerland IT-Strategie-Forum pdf, url
    3 29.11.2005 English Russia International Conference pdf, url
    4 15.05.2006 English Italy HP Enterprise Executive Summit pdf, url
    5 19.09.2006 English Belgium euroOSCON pdf, url
    1 19.11.2005 English USA Thoughtware Worldwide pdf, url
    2 01.11.2006 English USA Hurwitz & Associates pdf, url
    3 01.12.2006 English USA Butler Group report pdf, url
    4 16.01.2007 English USA Celent pdf, url
    5 01.06.2007 English USA ovum report pdf, url
    1 01.01.2001 German, English Switzerland HP Success Story pdf DE, pdf EN
    2 01.01.2002 German, English Switzerland HP Success Story pdf DE, pdf EN
    3 23.10.2006 English USA HP Success Story pdf
    4 01.08.2008 English Switzerland HP Marketing Collateral pdf
    1 01.10.2006 English USA HP Video url

    AIG nationalized: just crazy…

    via AIG announcement

    Wow, one of the biggest insurance companies, AIG, was nationalized by the Fed some hours before being bankrupt!

    Just to give you an idea about the size of AIG (2007 figures):

    • revenues: $110.1 billion
    • net income: $6.2 billion
    • assets: $1’060.5 billion
    • 116’000 employees
    • 700’000 agents, brokers, sales representatives
    • 74 million customers


    AIG Statement on Announcement by Federal Reserve Board of $85 Billion Secured Revolving Credit Facility


    The Board of Directors of American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG) issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement by the Federal Reserve Board that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is providing a two-year, $85 billion secured revolving credit facility to AIG that will ensure the company can meet its liquidity needs:

    “The AIG Board has approved this transaction based on its determination that this is the best alternative for all of AIG’s constituencies, including policyholders, customers, creditors, counterparties, employees and shareholders. AIG is a solid company with over $1 trillion in assets and substantial equity, but it has been recently experiencing serious liquidity issues. We believe the loan, which is backed by profitable, well-capitalized operating subsidiaries with substantial value, will protect all AIG policyholders, address rating agency concerns and give AIG the time necessary to conduct asset sales on an orderly basis. We expect that the proceeds of these sales will be sufficient to repay the loan in full and enable AIG’s businesses to continue as substantial participants in their respective markets. In return for providing this essential support, American taxpayers will receive a substantial majority ownership interest in AIG.

    “We commend the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department for taking this decisive action to address AIG’s liquidity needs and broader financial market concerns. We thank them for their leadership during this critical time for the global financial markets. We also thank Governor Paterson, Commissioner Dinallo, Commissioner Ario, the other state Commissioners, and the Office of Thrift Supervision for their willingness to assist AIG.

    “Policyholders of AIG companies around the world can rest assured that AIG’s commitments will continue to be honored.”

    Not just start-ups can be confronted with cash-flow issues! Crazy…