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It’s no secret that digital economy winners are those turning ideas into insurance offerings quickly and effectively to engage new and existing customers alike. That’s why developing and executing a cloud strategy is becoming a critical part of the modernization journey for leading insurers.
A typical path for insurers
Although every insurer will differ on specifics, most follow a typical path to cloud enablement. Fundamental steps include establishing a cloud-based foundation, including infrastructure, networks, security, automation and toolsets. Then, build and test non-production environments. Once testing yields satisfactory results, migrate applications to your new environment where your business can leverage it for capturing new opportunities and staying ahead of the rest.
(You can learn about how one insurer, Pekin Insurance, went about this at an upcoming webinar where you’ll hear from Novarica’s Jeff Goldberg; Pekin Insurance’s Director of IT, Cloud & Digital Operations Raju Debroy, and the author. Click here to register).
Let’s break down the path to cloud enablement and take a closer look at each step.
- Establish a basic cloud infrastructure
Most insurers start their cloud journey with IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), which establishes a basic cloud environment along with a cloud program governance model. An IaaS environment can be located in either a private cloud or a public one, hosted by cloud providers such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud.
During this phase, you’ll set up a minimum viable cloud (MVC) that contains the organization’s core infrastructure. This includes IaaS native services, core services and network transit and security. Common services utilized by all applications and infrastructure are then established in the non-production environment with the platform. Applications are then tested (a lot), with non-critical applications moving slowly to the production environment, where they are managed and monitored. Automated cloud monitoring is put in place to provide central visibility into all servers, network devices, data, and activities for improved security and provisioning of cloud resources.
- Prove your cloud model
Once the basic cloud infrastructure is in place, prove your cloud model by engaging business and application development stakeholders. This process includes creating a Cloud Competency Center and Cloud Development Center to roll out frameworks and provision workflows. During this phase, early adopters within your business begin migrating their applications, focusing on non-production workloads. The end goal of this step is to have a cloud foundation in place to support the business.
- Mature your cloud service offerings
The next critical step involves deepening your cloud support capabilities and maturing your cloud service offerings. For this phase, foundational cloud services processes are implemented and self-service is enabled, with the cloud environment still containing only non-critical production workloads. The goal of this phase is to develop a certified production environment to enable moving critical applications to the cloud.
- Extend your target operating model
Once a production environment has been certified, it’s time for you to extend your target operating model to support mission critical applications. For a smooth transition, scale your cloud staffing to match the cloud adoption rate. Additionally, a process for continuous improvement should be established. As mission critical apps are migrated into your environment, you’ll move ever-closer to having a robust cloud platform that the enterprise can use to drive all strategic business.
Key considerations for starting your journey
Before embarking on this cloud enablement journey, it’s important to evaluate your technical environment (the type and number of systems you have in place), your IT team’s cloud development skills and your business operations and strategy. Having a clear understanding of these components will allow you to establish a cloud strategy that not only aligns with the needs of your business but also sets you up for success.