CIBG: Continuous software modernization to support ever-changing business needs

SIG helps CIBG to prioritize rebuild plans and maintain a healthy application portfolio that can continually respond to changing legislation.

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(Dutch version can be found here)

CIBG is an agency within the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport that executes policy in the healthcare domain. The organization makes decisions based on legislation or established policy, collecting and providing healthcare data, and issuing permits and exemptions.

CIBG manages a significant portfolio of applications — with a rebuild value of approximately 150 person-years — that implement a wide range of legislation in healthcare. Every application managed by CIBG is linked to a law. Any legislation changes or new policies directly impact the linked applications.

Intensive cooperation between CIBG and SIG

SIG helps CIBG to prioritize rebuild plans and maintain a healthy portfolio that can constantly adapt to changing legislation. Additionally, CIBG involves SIG as a sparring partner for IT issues. For example, SIG was asked to share their thoughts on the tender requirements for new hosting providers, and SIG investigated a new software build pipeline to determine whether modern development techniques had been applied.

The introduction of new laws and regulations is leveraged by CIBG to modernize the application landscape. During modernization, functionality is kept limited and realistic in scope, so that new development projects don’t take longer than six to nine months. This is an important success factor for CIBG. A prime example of a successful new development project is the rebuild of the agency’s Donor Register.

The Challenge

System’s inability to adapt to changing business needs

One of the applications managed by CIBG is the Donor Register, where the organization registers organ donors and provides support to committees and boards that have an oversight function in healthcare.

In 2018, well before the July 2020 introduction of the new organ donor legislation, CIBG questioned the extent to which the current system could support this law. SIG was therefore asked to review how future-proof the Donor Register was.

SIG found that the system suffered the following issues:

  • inability to scale
  • high level of dependencies, where any necessary changes in code affected the majority of the system
  • lack of in-depth system knowledge
  • outdated technologies in use

Taking into account SIG’s recommendations, CIBG decided to rebuild this register.

With the deadline of the law’s implementation looming on the horizon, CIBG’s big question was, How do we make sure that the application that implements the law is reliable, maintainable and scalable? And will it be ready in time, given the pressing deadline?

The SIG Solution

Successful rebuild of legacy application — on time, within budget

By asking SIG to take a critical look, CIBG could ensure that nothing was overlooked during development due to the high work pressure and that schedules were maintained.

The legacy application was replaced by a new, smaller, modern application — a quarter of the size of the original. The rebuild, including new functionality, was completed on time and within budget due to the strong relationship between CIBG and its technical partner, as well as the use of clear software quality standards and guidelines.

The Result

A flexible foundation for the future

SIG performed a second review of the application two months before going live, such that there would be sufficient time to act on the advice. The maintainability of the application was assessed as ‘above average’ and future proof: the developers of CIBG and its technical partner had tested the software thoroughly.

CIBG developed and went live with a modern, stable Donor Register system, and did not receive negative media attention.


“The implementation of the new Donor Register has led to a modern and flexible application with the ability to implement changes quickly. This gives CIBG the opportunity to quickly and adequately respond to changing requests and requirements for the register.”

– Richard Maat, Head of Delivery at CIBG


Final Thoughts

The CIBG mission is to be a modern IT administrator and provider — together with its IT partners — where any issue is viewed as an opportunity for improvement. To prevent systems from becoming bloated, untransparent and difficult to maintain, CIBG continuously evaluates whether a system is future proof or needs to be replaced. CIBG believes in keeping up with modern development techniques to be and remain successful — and SIG is helping the organization achieve this objective.

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