process automation enterprise architect conversation

Community Conversations: Uwe Koch, HDI Insurance

For developers, enterprise architects, and other business professionals who utilize process automation technology, there is no limit on the potential use cases of automation. With organizations implementing process automation in so many unique ways, there is a wealth of knowledge to be found from experts around the world. The Camunda Community is comprised of a collaborative group of individuals who answer questions, speak at events, publish content, and participate in online communities. These Community members represent the heartbeat of Camunda, and they’re constantly finding ways to improve the strategy, implementation, and outcomes of process automation.

For the first installment of our Community Conversations blog series, we sat down with Uwe Koch, a Camunda Champion and enterprise architect at HDI Insurance. Uwe, who will be hosting a session during Camunda Community Summit on April 28, shared his journey from implementing his first process automation project more than 10 years ago to becoming one of Camunda’s most tenured Champions. 

Q: Could you please introduce yourself?

Uwe Koch: “My name is Uwe Koch. I’m a Camunda Champion and an enterprise architect at HDI Insurance, which is a subsidiary of Talanx – one of the top insurance groups in Europe. Since joining HDI Insurance almost 10 years ago, I’ve been mainly involved  in process automation projects.“

Q: When did you first discover Camunda?

Uwe: “When I first started at HDI, my job was to handle a very new process automation engine. That process engine, which was a box solution, was the result of the company’s first attempt to introduce automation. And while we were able to automate some processes with it, there were still disadvantages to that particular engine, because the best of suite/box approach brought in an own ecosystem for development, deployment and runtime. For example, we were housed with both Java developers and an infrastructure team that was writing code, so the lack of flexibility in that solution caused challenges; it became very hard to find the right combination of skill from both the development and infrastructure teams to handle this workflow engine.

“At that point, it became clear that automation works, but we knew we had to find a process automation solution that better fit our needs. Since we knew our demand for process automation was only going to increase, we set out to find a workflow engine that better fits our Java development life-cycle and our infrastructure team. We were seeking a process automation solution that feels like a standard Java application that’s deployed in production, where even cluster setup or database change would be a standard. That’s where Camunda comes in: Camunda was a natural extension of the Java world for processes. It was the perfect fit.”

Q: Were there specific processes you were trying to automate with Camunda?

Uwe: “The biggest focus for us as an insurance company was the handling of our policies. For example, if you want to modify a contract or make a new claim, there’s a lot of work to do. But most of this work follows a specific procedure. We knew we could save time and deliver an even better experience for our customers by introducing process automation throughout these processes.“

Q: How has your use of Camunda changed over time?

Uwe: “The first big project that showed us the power of Camunda was when we digitalized our car insurance processes. This project showed us the power of Camunda. We really liked the power of BPMN and the structure it introduces. We had always drawn out our businesses processes on a whiteboard to understand what we want to automate. Doing this in BPMN allows for a flawless transition from modeling to the coding stage. BPMN is not only documentation, but you can also bring it to life with automation. 

“Since then, we’ve introduced Camunda in sections across our business. For example, we have retail insurance and industry insurance business sections, which involve two very different processes, so we decided to utilize Camunda in each variation. In other words, we do not have just one central Camunda installation – we decide when and how to deploy Camunda based on the specific situation.”

Q: What does being a Camunda Champion mean to you?

Uwe: “I feel very honored to be selected as a Camunda Champion. It’s not easy to give a specific definition of what a Camunda Champion is, but for me, I’ve always been very involved in the community from the beginning. I talk often to other insurance companies and Camunda developers – I’ve also created meetups to help the Community share best practices with Camunda. Being part of the Community is not just a professional responsibility for me, it also gives me a chance to meet with interesting people, share ideas, and push the boundaries of what is possible with process automation.” 

Q: We’ve heard that your colleagues have given you a Camunda-themed nickname. Can you tell us about that? 

Uwe: “In Germany, the Hollywood movie called Coming to America, starring Eddie Murphy, is titled The Prince From Zamunda. I guess people made the connection of Zamunda-Camunda. Now, when colleagues and community members see me, they say, “Hey! It’s The Prince of Camunda!”

“I’m truly fascinated with process automation, specifically BPMN. People who are familiar with process automation and Camunda really seem to enjoy it and have fun with it, and I think this nickname is a great reflection of that.”

Register now for Camunda Community Summit to hear Uwe’s Presentation, “A Look Back at 10 Years of Process Automation at HDI insurance.”