In this latest Opinion piece Craig Olivier from Genasys Technologies looks at the benefits of cloud-based insurance systems. He’s got ten damn good reasons why the Cloud rocks for insurance companies, plus a magic laser pointer thing – so pay attention at the back, as there could be a test later.
Most of you have probably heard of cloud computing. While it started way back in the 1960s, over the course of the past decade it has evolved from something that people like me have been telling businesses that they should be switching to, to becoming the technological lifeblood running through most modern businesses.
The cloud is the power behind the Netflix versus Blockbuster model. There’s no need for any physical infrastructure, you just need to be able to access it and simply pay for what you use.
While many of us use the cloud in our daily lives through the likes of Google Drive and Facebook, when it comes to business there is still some uncertainty about its key benefits and concerns about the potential cons.
Many of the insurers, brokers, and MGAs that we have met have heard of it, think they should be ‘in’ the cloud but don’t really know what that means for their business. We’ve heard concerns about the speed of using cloud services, with people thinking that it would be slower than their current systems. Others are worried about the potential for downtime given the well-publicised issues that one software-as-a-service provider has experienced and the knock-on effect of that on its customers.
They’re not alone. Cloud computing ranked as the top risk concern for executives in risk, audit, finance, and compliance according to the latest survey by Gartner, Inc. However, Gartner also forecasts that cloud computing will be a $300 billion business by 2021 as companies increasingly adopt cloud services as part of their digital transformation strategies.
In my experience of helping businesses move to the cloud, it has helped them realise one or more of ten key benefits.
- Fully managed service – enabling them to outsource certain or all IT processes and functions to help them run their business more efficiently concentrating on what they do best and have them compete more effectively
- Disaster recovery and high availability – if something does go wrong, the right backup and processes are in place to minimise or negate any downtime
- Pay as you go – instead of being handcuffed into restrictive contracts, businesses can pay for what they use and can flex resource requirements as needed. This is especially valuable for start-ups as the barrier to entry is managed and scaled as their requirements increase
- CapEx vs OpEx cost – one-off purchases vs rental model for both hardware and software requirements. Typical best practice is to refresh on-premises hardware every 3 years. This also talks to software costs, so when new versions of operating systems come out, upgrades need to be purchased. This is typically included in cloud solutions.
- Leverage complementary product offerings – the cloud facilitates this using easy API integrations whether it be general ledger, document sharing, compliance, email and correspondence gateways or big data management. These complementary services are often cloud-based and can be procured as needed
- 24/7/365 access – your people aren’t chained to their desks and can access your system from any device around the world depending on the protocols you put in place
- Global footprint – dependant on your requirement, physical locations of cloud services are available in around 140 different countries (dependant on cloud providers) which is often driven by territory data requirements
- Agility in setting up systems – possibly one of the biggest benefits, getting away from long and drawn out deployment efforts and implementations, businesses can quickly respond to changing business needs.
- Security and regulatory compliance – various different regulatory requirements are supported out of the box with no specific requirements and cost to comply. These include the likes of GDPR, vulnerability scanning, and security audits
- Last but by no means the least, it’s environmentally friendly!
While these benefits may help sway the view towards the cloud as a cost-effective business solution, moving data from one platform to another is an intimidating step. To ensure smooth integration between the cloud and traditional infrastructure, a robust cloud migration strategy needs to be developed.
Defining a roadmap and consumption strategy helps to plan each step which will minimise downtime and ensure a smooth transition. For example, one route could be to adopt a hybrid solution whereby the business continues to use its existing servers for a period of time before moving fully to the cloud.
Genasys has invested heavily in supporting cloud deployments to really drive our software as a service proposition. It reduces barriers to entry, supports agility and drives a pay as you use commercial model for both hosting (cloud) and software costs.
When it comes to the cloud, I’m a true believer!
This is a sponsored article produced in association with Genasys Technologies