Darren Price, CIO of RSA Insurance Group (formerly Royal & SunAlliance), is on a mission to embrace cutting-edge technology to improve operations, not something the insurance industry is always known for doing.
RSA signed a deal in January 2016, following a period of strategic planning with consultancy McKinsey, making Indian outsourcer Wipro its new infrastructure partner across Europe as part of a revolutionary switch to the cloud and a major digital transformation drive.
The company had several data centres to migrate and new services and capabilities to bring online, all while improving data security, so it is a huge project for Price and his team.
So why do it?
It turns out that the answer is partly about savings costs, not surprisingly, but also about improving capabilities.
“We will save 35 per cent on our infrastructure cost base. That’s over £200m over six years. And, as we’ve migrated the data centre and upgraded hardware and software, we’ve seen significant performance and stability improvements," he said.
"Overall, there’s been even more benefit than we initially identified. This has given us the opportunity to tidy up our environments, which has also meant we’ve needed less infrastructure, leading to even further cost savings.”
Price described the mandate from RSA’s board for the digital transformation as a “once in a lifetime opportunity to invest in technology”, and said that selecting the right partner was obviously vital.
Wipro was the “stand out” firm in the selection process, according to Price, in part owing to its cultural fit with RSA.
“We chose Wipro because of their customer focus and the way we’re able to work together. They built relationships between our businesses, and they were keen to work in a new and dynamic way. Cost was one element of the decision, but getting the right cultural fit is critical,” he explained.
Entering this relationship with Wipro meant exiting a previous deal with IBM in the UK and Ireland and CSC in Scandinavia. This was the project’s biggest risk, according to Price, as the previous incumbents could have dragged their heels and made life very difficult for the new integrator and the broader project. Fortunately for RSA, IBM and CSC were fully co-operative.
“As we’ve worked through it, IBM and CSC have stepped up to support a quality transition of service to Wipro,” he said.
“It was a challenging process, having to agree a deal with the current incumbents, including access to the data centres, and then building the new infrastructure. There would have been a huge financial impact had we missed our dates.
“After the commercial wrangling, IBM and CSC supported a quality handover. That was an important part of the project, and it doesn’t happen in lots of cases. It was a hell of a relief, to be honest, as that was the biggest risk.”
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