Suncorp, one of Australia’s biggest insurance companies, is pulling out of traditional data centers by the end of 2023. This action, which is a component of the company’s digital strategy, demonstrates its dedication to using cloud technologies for apps and storage.
According to Charles Pizzato, Suncorp’s executive general manager of IT infrastructure, in an interview with Insurance Business, they have established a very clear goal to move this forward over the past six months, and that is essentially their strategy: to leave owned and leased data centers by the end of the following year.
This final departure will be a turning point for the industry as a whole as well as the giant of insurance. Data centers have hosted the computers and storage equipment of insurance businesses for many years. Pizzato claimed that since 2013, his company has adopted an ambitious cloud strategy that has required moving away from data centers.
Migrating to the Cloud
Pizzato said that they set a rather ambitious goal of migrating a lot of workloads to AWS over a six-month period when they appeared on the AWS re:Invent Vegas stage.
The annual re:Invent Las Vegas events, hosted by AWS, or Amazon Web Services, are billed as a “learning conference for the global cloud computing community.”
According to Pizzato, the company migrated 65% of its computing, including programs and apps, to cloud environments in the years after that announcement.
Pizzato said that it had also aided in the deployment of software, for instance, by allowing for the quick scaling up and down of services as necessary.
“You can build without the sort of constraints of the traditional data center and the lead times around the various components of it,” said Pizzato.
Adaptive Cloud Challenges & Opportunities
However, in recent years, financial services, especially the insurance industry, have had to deal with new digital and data opportunities and challenges that have altered how they use the cloud.
“The problem has changed from initially being, how do we speed up software? To opportunities around how we use data for innovation and effectively leverage services from those cloud providers,” said Pizzato.
“We’ve now moved from having 65% of our workloads to 90% of our workloads in the cloud,” he said.
According to Pizzato, the remaining 10% consists of services like software and hardware from the American multinational technology company Oracle Engineered Systems that cannot be integrated into a “hyper scaler.” They’ll remain in a Sydney facility.
Geospatial technology is one area where Suncorp is benefiting from the growing usage of cloud-based technologies combined with AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning techniques, said Pizzato.
“We use that in our Disaster Response Events Centre when we have claims events,” he said. “What that lets us do is overlay a weather event on a map of all of our risks within a certain area and effectively show, as a weather event is passing through, where our at-risk customers are.”
Pizzato claimed that this visualization, which is displayed on a wall-sized screen in their Brisbane Disaster Recovery Center, displays the path of the event, the risks, the locations of the houses, and the damage.
“You can never consider doing that if you weren’t working with partners that are leveraging the scale of the cloud,” he said.
This technology enables disaster response teams to actively interact with affected clients both during and after a claim’s occurrence.
“After the event, it allows us to understand very quickly what the damage has done to certain properties and that speeds up the claims process significantly,” he said.
Furthermore, geospatial technology, according to Pizzato, also enables claims teams to get in touch with customers affected by an event and make suggestions for the claim’s resolution before the consumer has ever filed a claim.