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CM—Belgium's Largest Health Insurance Fund— Drives Omnichannel Strategy Supporting 4.5M Members

4.5 Million healthcare customers
4 Months of front-end development
5 Devs working 40 percent faster
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Christelijke Mutualiteiten (CM) is Belgium’s largest health insurance fund, serving 4.5 million customers. Having used OutSystems for 18 months, the development team took on its biggest challenge yet—to deliver CM's omnichannel customer experience solution.

Just nine months later, the company launched My CM, a mobile app and accompanying web portal that transform CM's customer experience. Built to withstand the needs of 4.5 million members, the mobile app's adoption is growing sharply, and it is rated 4.7 on the Apple app store.

  • Customer Experience
  • Digital Core Systems
  • Mobile Applications
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Web Apps & Portals
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"I was a believer in OutSystems from the beginning, and it has lived up to my expectations. We deliver faster, and our users and customers appreciate the improved user experiences we now serve them."

Rebecca Debaillie Director ICT, Christelijke Mutualiteiten
Challenge

Omnichannel Calls for a Modern AppDev Approach

Christelijke Mutualiteiten ("CM") is the largest of five competing Belgian health insurance funds with four and a half million members—roughly half of the country's citizens. The company acts as patients' representative with healthcare providers and administers claims, payments, and social assistance for its members, within the Belgian state's compulsory health scheme.

CM describes itself as a "dynamic social movement," rather than just an insurance institution, a claim warranted by its 70,000 volunteers who provide social care assistance in their communities.

Established in 1906, CM has an extensive network of around 500 branches so that members never need to travel far to access CM services. But more recently, with an eye to the future, CM has invested significantly in improved digital experiences to meet the changing preferences of its members.

The quest for world-class digital experiences placed an increasing burden on CM's IT organization, which was struggling to keep up with demand, as Chief Architect, Peter Van Maele, explains.

“CM's back-end development is mostly in Java. But for front-end development and workflows, we needed a faster approach, one that would help us iteratively improve user experiences at a fast pace and make us less reliant on hard-to-hire senior Java development skills.”

Peter Van Maele Chief Architect, Christelijke Mutualiteiten

Peter's search for faster, modern application development methods brought him to OutSystems, and following an extensive evaluation, CM became an OutSystems customer in mid-2018.

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Why Christelijke Mutualiteiten chose OutSystems:
  • Speed-up development and improve agility
  • Deliver omnichannel CX solutions
  • Improve UX
Solution

Year One—Building Foundations

CM has hundreds of applications and around 300 developers. The business case for adopting OutSystems depended on wide scale adoption—this was not about building one or two urgent things fast. "Our first year was about establishing foundations," explains Peter.

CM needed a governed, architectural approach that would maximize the reuse of components. Scalability and security were crucial, given the financial details and health data it processes for millions of customers.

OutSystems partner Providit provided training and advice on software architecture. Meanwhile, Rebecca Debaillie, Director of ICT, started building CM's internal OutSystems development capability.

“During the first year, we took an ambassadorial approach, gradually building the evidence of how much faster and more flexible it was to develop front-ends and workflow-style apps using OutSystems. It was never a case of forcing OutSystems on our experienced developers.”

Rebecca Debaillie Director ICT, Christelijke Mutualiteiten

The first strategic application that the team developed was "Care Volunteering," an Uber-like application that assigns social-care tasks, such as home visits and medicine deliveries, to CM's 70,000 volunteers.

Built by an agile team of seven, including two OutSystems developers, this web portal and mobile-friendly web app for volunteers enables CM to manage clients, care requirements, and volunteers and even provides required reports to the Belgian social services department. External volunteer users gain secure access to the system thanks to integration with Belgium's eID service.

"Development involved integration to back-end systems written in COBOL and Java," says Peter. "We've reused these integrations in subsequent development projects."

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Providit NV
Partner

Providit NV

Providit, established in 2015 and founded by Kurt Vandevelde and Tim Timperman, has a 100% focus on OutSystems. Tim and Kurt have been working with the OutSystems platform since 2010 and have by far...

Learn more about Providit NV
Results

Year Two—Omnichannel Takes-off with My CM

Although CM now has 27 OutSystems applications in production, the most strategic of these is "My CM," which aims to provide every customer service capability that had previously required customers to visit stores or call the contact center.

"This project is all about giving our customers more choice for how they interact with CM," explains Rebecca. "And, for many of our customers, using a mobile app or a web portal is now preferable to picking up the phone or visiting a store."

CM's board set a demanding deadline for this strategic project. The IT team had just nine months to deliver the omnichannel suite of applications, including native mobile apps on iOS and Android, a customer-facing web portal, and the internal customer service app.

Given that 4.5 million customers would ultimately use My CM, performance speed and user experience were crucial design considerations.

"From an architecture perspective, we were integrating with, not replacing, systems of record," explains Peter. "Much of the project was spent building the strong foundations needed for this business-critical application suite. User experience development was mainly in the second half of the project."

CM was able to speed up development by using OutSystems UI—an extensive library of responsive visual components and screen templates that enabled the team to customize UI standards across the application suite.

Thanks to the OutSystems platform's rapid visual development capabilities, the CM development team was able to take user feedback in its stride. A UX design agency provided continuous input from a panel of customers of all ages.

“It was essential that all CM customers find the app easy to use, so we made sure to include over-seventies in our user test panel.”

Rebecca Debaillie Director ICT, Christelijke Mutualiteiten

Five OutSystems developers were involved in the My CM project—two from CM and three from Providit. The team delivered on time; overall development time was nine months, of which UI development with OutSystems was four months.

"Early on in our OutSystems journey, we did some development speed comparisons with Java. OutSystems was 40 percent faster," explains Peter. "If we'd not been using OutSystems, we'd have needed at least eight developers to deliver the same functionality in the time available."

The My CM app was rolled out to customers in phases, starting in early 2021. Feedback and ratings have been extremely positive—App Store 4.7 and Google Play 4.5.

Super easy to use.

Quickly request a benefit from my lazy sofa :-) Clear overview of my interventions. Nice step forward, and curious about extra functionalities

Mijn CM

Great app, clear and user-friendly. Highly recommended!

Simple and clear!

Thanks to this handy app, I get an overview of my repayments at a glance and easily request a CM benefit. User-friendly and time-saving!

The app is available in French and Dutch, and CM can easily add additional languages when required.

CM has ensured the app will be easy to maintain. For example, the back-end administration portal makes it easy to manage "member advantages"—promotions, such as sports club membership discounts that encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Moreover, with one-click publish with dependency checking built into the lifecycle management and DevOps capabilities of OutSystems, the CM team can more easily keep their app suite updated. "OutSystems automates a lot of DevOps tasks, which makes continuous delivery much easier," says Peter.

Outlook

An Evolving Dynamic IT Movement

CM's use of OutSystems is going from strength to strength. My CM is now available to all 4.5 million customers, and adoption is expected to grow rapidly, giving customers more choice for how they interact with their health insurance fund.

My CM is just one of 27 OutSystems applications that the IT team supports, and the portfolio continues to grow. "We're in the process of digitizing all of the members' forms and documents," explains Rebecca. "Things like sick notes to claim government sick pay are all moving online. Less printing and mailing will be kind to the planet and better value for our members."

CM is expanding its in-house OutSystems developer community, with tailored training programs to equip junior and senior developers, as well as technical analysts, to use OutSystems.

“Bringing analysts onboard with OutSystems is an exciting opportunity. We anticipate a considerable productivity increase as they can define entities, build user experiences, and model workflows—all without coding—then hand over to pro-developers to finish off.”

Peter Van Maele Chief Architect, Christelijke Mutualiteiten

CM, which describes itself as a "dynamic social movement," has a dynamic movement evolving in the heart of its IT organization. "We created a community to encourage collaboration between our Java and OutSystems developers," explains Peter. "Every month, up to 80 people meet to share their experience."