A large Munich-based personal and property insurance company was under a tight deadline to modernize its entire IT infrastructure to help accelerate services to its business departments across Germany. The company determined that the best way to accomplish the modernization would be by using the right mix of on-premises and cloud solutions, enabling it to successfully manage its workloads and applications.
Guiding insurance transformation
The IT services subsidiary of the company is responsible for running the IT operations for numerous small-to-medium sized insurance brands. Having efficient and flexible technology platforms is essential for the work.
“With consumers doing almost everything online these days, the insurance industry is under pressure to offer more personalized products and a seamless customer experience,” says the chief technology officer of the insurer. “We realized that we needed more than just technology upgrades. We needed a complete digital transformation.”
Its transformation required identifying the best destination for key business applications, be it in on-premises data centers or in the cloud. To meet its overarching goal of modernizing its entire IT infrastructure, the company sought to relocate its two data centers to a new service provider who would handle most routine tasks and services, and otherwise cloud-enable its IT landscape.
The company had an ambitious time frame of just 8 months to complete the entire transition. It selected DXC Technology, which has extensive experience in cloud transformation, to guide the modernization program and take on the role of managed services provider. DXC developed a new IT infrastructure architecture for the customer and is providing expertise in areas such as cloud, SAP applications and security to support.
Taking the right approach
For insurance companies, a cloud-first or cloud-only strategy is not always the best solution. In some cases, it would be too costly or risky to move to the cloud existing financial systems that include specialized hardware and run error-free in a data center. In addition, some insurance-related data assets must be kept on premises for privacy and security reasons.
DXC's Cloud RightTM approach is focused on helping customers making the right technology investments at the right time and on the right platforms. For the first phase of the transformation, DXC relocated mainframe-related systems to a DXC data center, while enabling the use of cloud as a standard landing zone.
The customer and DXC worked together to define concrete goals, and technical, financial and business content was sorted and checked for cloud compatibility. “With the experts from DXC, we have opted to have very experienced professionals at our side who have the right approach and scale to orchestrate the entire journey to public cloud,” the CTO says.
The shift to the cloud prompted a cultural change at the company.
“We wanted to focus on a lighthouse project to familiarize our colleagues with the integration of a public cloud,” the CTO says. “Such an illustrative project was also important because the task profile of many colleagues changes with the public cloud services. Instead of doing the tasks in house, it’s about managing specialized service providers.”
The second phase revolved around transforming and modernizing the infrastructure in the new data center, which included expanding storage capacity, along with other technology upgrades. Having the ability to scale quickly is especially crucial in the insurance industry. For example, when interest rates change, those changes must be extended to insurance contracts, requiring a tremendous amount of computing power.
The migration included modernizing mainframe assets and implementing a new hardware architecture. DXC helped the customer establish a uniform, process-oriented infrastructure and operational model that could take advantage of a hybrid cloud environment. The company now has the flexibility to implement whatever public cloud solution is most appropriate to meet its needs.
A high-speed fiber channel was implemented to move many of the company's IT assets virtually, and the migration was executed in waves. To minimize business disruptions, the physical assets that needed to be moved into the data center were transported at the start of a 4-day holiday weekend. The entire migration was successfully completed within the targeted 8-month timeframe.
The company’s VMware environment was modernized using DXC managed multicloud services, which enable the insurer to rapidly launch compute, storage and network infrastructure as well as have full-stack application support on multiple private and public clouds. DXC also supported the transformation of the insurer's SAP environment to SAP HANA and helped modernize the company’s Citrix environment for remote access.
DXC leveraged its technology expertise and global partnerships with leading IT providers while working closely with ISG, a leading global advisory firm, to support the transformation.
Gaining speed and agility
The data center migration and infrastructure modernization is paying off for the insurer. The company met its goal of implementing a faster, more stable IT environment with improved scalability and flexibility.
“With the modernization of the infrastructure and consolidation of operational processes, we can now securely deploy critical applications in the public cloud in a uniform manner," the CTO says.
The modernization was completed without service disruption and has resulted in improved compute speed and performance gains. By introducing more standardized processes, the company has gained the ability to automate responses to queries from its customers. Also, it has achieved its goal of turning over most of its routine tasks to DXC.
The improvements in speed, agility and scalability are helping the company retain its position as the leading IT provider for small and medium-sized insurance companies in Germany. Its IT environment supports everything these companies need to introduce new products, comply with new regulations and take advantage of new capabilities for managing customer data.
“In a very short time, we moved from the old to the new, and we have a technical platform and operating model that’s built for the future,” the CTO says. “We look forward to working closely with DXC to take full advantage of the cloud.”