Legacy Platform Build v. Buy Assessment

Premier Credit Card Benefits Supplier

A global travel insurance provider also holds a mature line of business supplying credit card benefits for the largest brands in the world, benefits such as Car Rental Insurance, Extended Warranty, and Trip Delay Insurance. The ecosystem of technology supporting claims administration had not seen significant upgrades in nearly 20 years. 

Before modernizing the legacy platform, Ippon was contracted to perform a 3-month Build v Buy assessment. We delivered far more, presenting a product-market fit analysis, assessing costs and building a 3-year feature roadmap to both modernize and differentiate the platform and its offerings. 

Key Figures

20 years
of tech debt requiring modernization
$3.8 Billion
potential market
< 3 months
to learn, analyze and craft 3-5y roadmap


The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the opportunity to seize greater market share and portfolio diversification from a mature line of business  without meaningful tech investment in more than 20 years. 

Ippon was challenged to audit the internal platform modernization requirements and evaluate against market SaaS products available, recommending the best architecture for business innovation and dominance in the $3.8 Billion market over the next 3, 5 & 15 years. 


Ippon’s response created a stir. 

With a nearly 6-month runway from approval to kickoff for new initiatives, project planning began in parallel to Ippon’s assessment. Weekly readouts were met with increasing scrutiny as market analysis painted a broader perspective of both product opportunities as well as technical considerations. 

Ultimately, Ippon’s presentation of the market assessment and the product opportunity within it challenged internal assumptions as well as the roadmap, causing a project hiatus. This allowed the organization to realign expectations at the highest levels against the new vision of product capabilities. 


The assignment was labeled a Build vs Buy platform assessment, however the legacy ecosystem of four primary and five secondary products required a much more nuanced assessment approach. The team landed on two parallel assessment paths performed simultaneously, over three months and in three phases.

After mapping customer journeys representing the (1) applicant, (2) servicing agent and (3) new client onboarding, a Senior Solutions Architect led a thorough technical review of every product and its functions, diagramming both the current state and a proposed state of optimal efficiency.   

Market research was conducted in tandem. We initiated analysis across multiple facets – 

  1. understanding current and trending states of direct competition in the insurance industry, respective products, offers and services; 
  2. assessing competitor and SaaS solution digital features today, providing a baseline of expected functionality by end users; and 
  3. projecting future needs and desired features by analyzing shifting customer behavior in adoption of digital services across insurance and tangential industries 

Overall market analysis resulted in Minimum, Parity and Destination capability sets from which our team devised development roadmaps, project runway and team-size resource requirements, at varying velocities. The subsequent gap analysis of target state to current product capabilities helped evaluate worthy SaaS platform licensing options, along with respective install and migration estimates.


This insurance company understands their client base, core product needs, and has an accurate pulse on market size and opportunity. But they had a narrowed field of vision when it came to technical capabilities required to unlock market differentiation. 

By focusing on features requested by smaller players, their internal assessment missed critical components required by the largest target customers. By the evidence garnered from market research, the organization’s initial projected build updated existing features but failed to meet a comparable, parity feature set to competitors in the market. Further still, the assessment would have taken two years to build and be unlikely to secure new clients particularly at the rate to hit growth targets.  

Ippon challenged the preconceived target state and helped the organization realize what new elements were required to achieve their goals. The organization has a renewed vision and path to execute their goal of market dominance, and growth targets of 150% are now within reach. 

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