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Progressive Insurance's Approach to Software Brings Everything Together

September 02, 2016

While Progressive is most commonly known for its Flo character and entertaining marketing, a company can't last long on good quality marketing alone. It's made some great strides in terms of packaging insurance and making it more accessible to customers, but what about its internal operations? The good news there is that Progressive is no slouch when it comes to non-customer-facing systems, and has a great strategy for bringing in new software as well, as detailed by Flexera Software.

Essentially, Progressive has opened up the floor, making it possible—even desirable—for any employee to suggest new applications or software packages be brought in in a bid to help improve operations. The requests are then routed through a “portfolio subject matter expert,” who evaluates the request accordingly. Upon finding it sound, the expert then routes the suggestion through a security review to ensure the least likelihood of potential damage associated with it, and from there, on to purchasing for necessary contract negotiations.

Should all these hurdles be successfully cleared, the software asset management (SAM) team then steps into catalog and record relevant data about the software, which is then prepared for use by the End User Computing team for the entire organization to put to work.

One of those End User Computing team members, Steve Costell—a lead systems engineer—commented, “Workflow Manager has been used by Progressive for years to track and report on our application packaging, testing, and deployment. Workflow Manager is a key piece of our packaging process that provides our managers information about the throughput of their resources and the time it takes to complete work. Prior to implementing Workflow Manager, they used five different systems to track the progress of packaging and that meant that data was often suspect because not everything was documented in the same way or even in the same system.”

It's certainly great that Progressive staffers—the ones most likely to know what's needed by the system at any point—is allowed to have so much input on what tools are likely to do the job. This is a great way to prevent shadow IT practices, or those practices that occur when the employees take it upon themselves to bring in software they believe necessary for the job, without any of those vetting practices described earlier. As long as the various hurdles involved aren't too oppressive, simply answering “no” to every new request, it's a safe bet that Progressive doesn't have many software licensing problems at all, particularly those caused by shadow IT use.

If Progressive needed improvement, it might choose to reward those employees who point out new software for the company's use. As it is, however, Progressive has likely fixed at least a couple of major problems a lot of businesses are still struggling to work around.

Edited by Alicia Young
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