Insurance firm Royal & SunAlliance (RSA) has completed a data centre migration, moving a mainframe supporting around 2,000 applications to new data centres in Scandinavia and Canada.
The migrated applications include various large policy administration and underwriting systems supporting a wide variety of product lines.
This is a significant milestone in RSA's digital transformation, part of a seven-year partnership signed with Wipro at the start of the year.
The migration was completed over the first weekend in July, bringing an end to one of the most complex and risky elements of the overall programme.
"The risk to the business was significant. We were moving infrastructure and changing data centre providers, so there was a high risk to the business, especially if we got it wrong," RSA group CIO Darren Price told V3.
"Timing-wise it went across our mid-year results, and end of quarter, and there would have been a huge financial impact of missing dates."
Price explained that the project was delivered as a joint effort between the business and technology sides of the organisation, with overall group and regional alignment. In other words, every side of the organisation was affected.
"Key resources were brought in to help us. We had internal recruits to build the core service management capability, and went to the contract market to get transformation expertise," he said.
"We had clear governance, alignment of the execution plans and a real focus on quality assurance with in-depth planning."
The trickiest phase of the programme occurred three months ago when commercial exit agreements were being negotiated with the group's previous data centre providers, IBM in the UK and Ireland and CSC in Scandinavia.
"It was commercially challenging. We had to agree deals with the current incumbents around access to the data centres and building new infrastructure," said Price.
But he added that IBM and CSC were easy to work with, and helped to make the process as smooth as possible.
"As we've worked through it, IBM and CSC have stepped up to support a quality transition of service to Wipro," he said.
"After the commercial wranglings, they've really stepped up, and that doesn't happen in lots of examples. That was a hell of a relief, because it was the biggest risk."
Having hit the scheduled date for the mainframe migration, the overall transformation project continues throughout the rest of 2016, as do the risks to the business, Price explained.
"We're migrating mid-range infrastructure services until end of year, including mid-range servers, development and quality assurance. The risk there is high too as Scandinavia goes on holiday now," he said.
The insurer is also recruiting a new chief digital officer, and expects to make an announcement shortly.
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