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Simply Business moves from Jenkins to Semaphore, streamlining its enterprise CI

Before Semaphore:
  • Issues with maintaining a Jenkins server
  • No full-featured and reliable CI solution
After adopting Semaphore:
  • Lower maintenance costs and increased speed and efficiency
  • Successful adoption of CI

Launched in 2005, Simply Business is an online brokerage service, delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. The UK’s largest business insurance provider, they provide insurance to over 300,000 UK SMEs, covering over 1,000 trade types. It has been a Sunday Times Tech Track 100 company for the past three years and was recently named in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA.

Industry: Online insurance

The Challenge

Simply Business is the UK’s largest online insurance broker for small businesses. They are primarily an online company — all of their customers come through their website. Thanks to this model, they have been growing rapidly, issuing policies to hundreds of thousands of clients.

In business insurance, efficiency is at the very core of the business. In 2010, the IT team faced the challenge of needing to speed up adding new functionality to their online insurance platform. Lukas Oberhuber joined Simply Business as their CTO to help the tech team adopt the agile methodology and increase the scope, speed, and efficiency of their service.

“We were using Jenkins to build the old system, and it was hard to maintain and quite painful. We looked at other hosted CI services, but they were very unreliable. When we found Semaphore, we got our application up and running pretty quickly. We now use it for all projects. ”
Lukas Oberhuber, CTO at Simply Business

The Solution

There are a lot of details that need to be taken into account when testing an enterprise-class system. Simply Business managed to resolve all of the complexities involved using Semaphore for continuous integration. Another important benefit for them was that Semaphore constantly adds new features, such as Docker support.

“I think that the biggest benefit is that we don’t have to maintain a bespoke build environment and deal with the hassle of maintaining it. The integration with GitHub is absolutely crucial. The fact that any time you push something, it just goes straight to Semaphore.”
Lukas Oberhuber, CTO at Simply Business

The Simply Business tech team recently came across an interesting challenge of needing to be able to continuously deploy the phone system during the day, while their staff are on the phone, talking to customers. Nobody does test-driven development with Twilio, so the team had a great feeling of success when they managed to test a Twilio integration including WebRTC using Semaphore.

The Results

All of Simply Business’s new projects are tested and continuously delivered, and they’re all running on Semaphore for testing purposes.

“Semaphore is easy to set up, and it suited us really well throughout the years. Semaphore developers have been very responsive to support queries — early on, we had quite a few discussions about how to do certain things, and that’s been really helpful. Semaphore just works.”
Lukas Oberhuber, CTO at Simply Business

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