Developers on the Clock

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 04-06-2006

Like most CIOs these days, Paul-Camille Bentz, of AGF (a French subsidiary of Munich-based insurance giant Allianz AG), has been looking for ways to cut costs from his IT budget. So far, he's reduced infrastructure, extended the life of the PCs used by AGF's 32,000 employees, and renegotiated his telecom contracts. Now he's targeting a group of IT employees that have traditionally been very tricky to measure and manage: his small army of 1,000 application developers.

"They have to become blue collars," says Bentz. "They have to do what they are told, they have to validate their production.

We're not going to have them punching in and out, but they are here to do a job. This is the industrialization of the application-development world."

Bentz's tough talk is being backed up by new application-development-governance software from CAST, a French firm that is partially owned by AGF. The software measures and monitors output from developers—both quantity and quality of code, whether in-house or outsourced—and provides a dashboard that allows managers to oversee the process. Bentz has applied the software to a small group of Java developers within his group, and he claims a 10 percent reduction in costs.

It's all part of Allianz's goal of reducing its annual IT expenses from $3 billion today, to $2.5 billion by 2008. And Bentz is forthcoming about the consequences of micromanaging a historically coddled segment of the IT workforce.

"Do I expect to lose some developers? Yes, we may lose people," Bentz says.