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USDA Transforms Business with Agility and Transparency

Staff, Appian
April 29, 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency (USDA RMA) operates and manages the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), which provides crop insurance for American farmers and ranchers. Private sector insurance companies sell and service the policies. RMA develops and/or approves the premium rate, administers premium and expense subsidies, approves and supports products, and re-insures the companies.

RMA CIO Chad Sheridan wanted to improve agility and transparency in how the agency delivered and administered the crop insurance program that covers $117 billion of annual liability on an annual premium base of $11 billion. This morning at Appian World 2015, Sheridan explained how the Appian Cloud platform provides the system of record for managing FCIC Escrow and the agency's roadmap of two dozen potential Appian applications.

USDA RMA began its BPM journey with Appian in 2012, as the business needed an agile platform to drive definition and provide better requirements management throughout the organization. USDA RMA had an excellent team of software designers, but needed a more modern way to address code that would allow the business to become more agile and transformative.

Using a team of Appian Professional Services experts, USDA RMA rolled out a cloud-based Escrow solution final project that delivered 110 percent of planned functionality for 90 percent of planned cost. Appian Cloud enabled parallel effort to upgrade to the latest Appian version at any time without any additional training. The solution resulted in the first agency application delivered in a PaaS cloud environment and was the first re-engineered RMA financial application to be used across the Appian Tempo interface.

"We had great custom developers in-house, but we didn't have an ability of an enhanced code environment," said Sheridan. "The Appian Cloud platform allowed us to safely adopt modern applications. Commitment from Appian Professional Services was a bootstrap of how we enabled agile development."

The impact of how USDA RMA delivers agile solutions is referred to as calls "RMAgile." Within this development model, each sprint cycle releases production-ready code through a cloud platform that is flexible enough to drive on-premise hosting changes.

Moving forward, USDA RMA has over two dozen ideas for additional enterprise solutions centered on workflow and document management, according to Sheridan.

"The business community now sees IT as a solution for process excellence," said Sheridan. "I have organizations asking me for ways to implement the solutions we have built with Appian."

-Mike Ingrisano, Media Relations Manager