Cloud Insurance

Cloud Assessment in Insurance: Designing an Actionable Roadmap

Insurers across the board are embarking on a common journey. The destination of this journey for most is clear: cloud enablement. And for the majority of insurers, the first step is equally obvious: a cloud assessment.

The purpose of a cloud assessment is to identify an organization’s readiness for cloud in the context of their business and IT, and ultimately enable the creation of a roadmap that successfully carries them through the cloud adoption process. There are of course milestones and key steps common to every cloud journey, but an assessment attempts to address the unique strengths, weaknesses, goals, and limitations that differentiate organizations. The best cloud assessments should not only address gaps and blind spots, but also smoothly translate into a thoughtful and comprehensive cloud strategy.

And while there are frameworks and even consulting firms that help with cloud assessment, most typically will deliver a generic first steps guide to cloud enablement. Such frameworks can leave insurers with a cloud roadmap that isn’t as streamlined, thorough, or actionable as they initially hoped for.

The Disconnect: a closer look at one multi-line insurer’s cloud journey

These shortcomings became particularly salient to one large multi-line insurer that embraced cloud computing as part of its digital transformation. In order to advance their mission of better servicing customers, the insurer turned to innovative new tools and technologies— including cloud—to meet agent’s and customers’ new standards of personalized and convenient digital experiences.

The carrier initially went to cloud consulting experts to spearhead their cloud efforts. However, the insurer was unsuccessful in implementing a minimum viable cloud (MVC) despite multiple efforts over the last few years.

What the insurer realized was that the roadmaps provided by the cloud consulting experts were too generic to implement. They neither accounted for the insurer’s particular current state (e.g. culture, business, technology), nor were they tailored to optimize for the insurer’s specific short and long-term enterprise goals. The assessment, in other words, did not provide a useful foundation for a sustainable and actionable roadmap. What did this assessment, and others like it, lack?

The Need: key factors in a successful cloud assessment

In working with various insurers on their cloud enablement journeys, we’ve identified three key factors to a successful cloud assessment:

  • Industry context– The assessment should reflect the industry landscape and contextualizes the needs of the enterprise
  • Alignment of business and technology goals– The assessment should consider technology in the context of defined business goals
  • People focus– The assessment should measure human, cultural, or organizational factors that directly affect the success/viability of cloud

These success factors are overarching, rather than distinct. Having all three in an assessment goes a long way in creating an actionable enterprise cloud strategy.

The Benefit: actionable roadmaps for insurance

The multi-line insurer then embarked on round two of cloud assessment, this time with a long-term vendor partner. The two worked together to reevaluate the business and further customize the roadmap to fit the insurer’s unique cloud journey.

The vendor’s insurance industry expertise as well as their intimate knowledge of the insurer’s technology stack, organizational culture, and overall enterprise goals allowed them to focus on the specifics (i.e., what had to be done to align the business, process, technology, and people). This was accomplished by leveraging a range of tools, including:

  • Individual interviews and surveys to deconstruct current organizational attitudes towards and perceptions of the cloud. Dis/satisfaction, mis/information, and cultural readiness were assessed both qualitatively and quantitatively.
  • Workshops to foster more accurate, organization-wide understanding of the technicalities, benefits, and implications of becoming cloud-enabled.
  • Vendor participation in daily operations to establish on-the-ground empathy and understanding of the organization.

Establishing empathy was the priority; cloud enablement is a huge undertaking and getting everyone in the organization on the same page is crucial to its viability. Understanding the insurer’s hopes and pain points was critical to creating a roadmap that could be transparently implemented up, down, and across the enterprise.

At the end of this endeavor, the insurer was able to walk away with a specific set of recommendations that could be implemented on a realistic timeline (defined as now, next, future). The insurer now had a roadmap that could smoothly and efficiently take them—and their business, technology, and people— through all the stages of cloud adoption.

The Difference: mapping an insurance-specific cloud journey

For this insurer, the depth of industry expertise and the capability to establish enterprise empathy were the key factors that differentiated an assessment that resulted in an actionable roadmap, and one that did not. Implementing cloud is a long and arduous journey. It’s not just a simple “lift-and-shift” of applications to the cloud. For insurers with a long history and decades of legacy platforms and applications, this process only gets more complicated.

That’s why a generic cloud assessment isn’t enough for insurers hoping to create a long-term cloud strategy. Every insurer is different, so it follows that every insurer’s journey is different. Having a partner that understands the insurance landscape and can contextualize technology needs in alignment with business goals is essential to crafting a plan that accounts for all the different dimensions of the business.

Want to learn more about cloud adoption in insurance? Here’s a simple cloud assessment framework that can help guide you on your journey.  For more information on how ValueMomentum can help you, visit our Digital & Cloud page.