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04/04/2023 Insurance Innovation

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#Next Gen IT Infrastructure #Legacy-light #Innovation Catalyst #Scaliability& agility #Cloud #Innovation #Everything-as-a-Service

Innovation presentation

In light of COVID-19, there are opportunities for FWD to enhance its technological capabilities and drive innovation in response to the new working environment. FWD recognises that cloud adoption is a crucial step towards empowering its employees and enabling the company to achieve its business growth aspirations.

Innovation is at the forefront of FWD's strategy, and the adoption of cloud technology plays a significant role in achieving FWD's aim of creating better propositions and services while providing a seamless customer experience. By migrating functions to the cloud, FWD can access data from cloud servers, which should accelerate decision-making processes and increase productivity while adapting to the work-from-home culture. This transformation towards a cloud-driven enterprise will not only benefit FWD, but also create a more convenient experience for customers and employees.

Through cloud-based services and infrastructure, FWD can launch new workflows quickly, enable self-service capabilities, and provide flexibility for future modifications. Partnering with Accenture, FWD can leverage their industry expertise and comprehensive cloud services to accelerate their cloud-first journey and drive innovation.

The efficiency and effectiveness of the IT department will also benefit from cloud adoption, leading to increased agility, innovation, scalability, and resilience across all operations. FWD's Cloud-first Strategy represents a bold move towards accelerating innovation, streamlining business processes, and optimising resources. By combining cloud adoption with applications modernisation and rationalisation, FWD aims to achieve its goals through a series of automation and re-architecting processes.

The Cloud-first Strategy enables FWD to provide better service to its customers and employees by upskilling quickly, reducing overheads, and surpassing timelines. Through the expedited adoption of new technologies, FWD can keep pace with the changing business landscape and meet our company vision. – “Changing the way people feel about insurance”.

Project scale

FWD Group is a pan-Asian insurance business with more than 10 million customers across 10 markets, spanning Hong Kong SAR & Macau SAR, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia and Cambodia.

FWD Group’s current business portfolio comprises life and health insurance, employee benefits and Shariah and family takaful products.

The scope of FWD's Cloud-first Strategy covers all of its current markets and requires involves over 2,000 IT staff. The migration workload involves over 8,000 APIs, 600+ applications, 50+ mobile applications, and 60+ websites.

Despite the challenges presented by this undertaking, FWD Group remains committed to its Cloud-first Strategy and recognises the significant benefits it will provide to its customers and employees. By leveraging the latest cloud-based technologies, FWD hopes to streamline its operations, increase efficiency, and enhance its services, ultimately delivering better outcomes for all of its stakeholders.

Key highlighted programme features

FWD's Cloud-first Strategy is now evolving to include the adoption of AI Ops, enabled through its partnership with Accenture. By integrating AI Ops into its Cloud-first Strategy, FWD aims to optimise the performance, availability, and reliability of its cloud-based systems and applications.

AI Ops leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate the detection and resolution of IT issues in real-time, reducing the time taken to resolve incidents and minimising the impact on customers. With the help of AI Ops, FWD can analyse vast amount of data generated by its cloud infrastructure, applications, and user behaviour, to identify and remediate issues before they impact business operations or customer experience.

FWD's cross-team cloud migration factory, together with its AI Ops capabilities, provides FWD with an efficient and effective way to manage its cloud-based IT operations. The co-location of delivery teams, coupled with the use of DevOps pipelines and automation tools, helps to streamline IT operations, while the integrated governance ensures adherence to best practices and industry standards.

By combining its Cloud-first Strategy with AI Ops, FWD is well-positioned to achieve its objectives of reducing costs, increasing availability and security, and enabling rapid innovation and change. This should enable FWD to deliver a better customer experience, improve operational efficiency, and drive business growth across its markets in Asia Pacific.

With the assistance of the Accenture team, FWD established a cross-team cloud migration factory that encompasses a comprehensive migration framework, industrialised capabilities, and proprietary tools and methods to accelerate migration and optimise for the Cloud. This approach includes several key features:

First, it involves integrated cloud lifecycle delivery, starting with a 6R cloud assessment (rehost, replatform, refactor, repurchase, retire, retain). to identify and rehost quick win applications at the beginning of the journey, upskilling FWD tech teams throughout the journey, and focusing on replatforming and rearchitecting critical systems while retiring legacy systems.

Second, it involves consistent tools and processes, such as integrating DevOps pipelines, establishing landing zones in AWS and Azure, and utilising automation tools like Terraform, Ansible, AWS Cloud Formation, and Azure Custom Template approaches.

Third, co-location of delivery teams has been established to build a 24 x 7 delivery model with Accenture India and HK teams to support FWD's Southeast Asia markets.

Finally, integrated governance is in place to consult with Accenture's expertise to understand the industrial practice of security control, tagging practice, cost optimisation through scaling down and up resources, selecting reserved instances, and identifying the right disaster recovery solution.

Uniqueness of the project

FWD's Cloud-first Strategy is unique in the industry, thanks to its comprehensive Cloud Migration Programme and Cloud Academy Programme developed in partnership with Accenture. This strategy has resulted in an impressive achievement of over 90% cloud adoption across all 10 markets within just two years.

The Cloud Migration Programme begins with a thorough 6R/7R cloud assessment, using Automated Migration Guardrails. FWD then assesses and migrates workloads to the target cloud, following the 6R process The programme has already achieved significant results, with 400+ applications in the cloud and around 200 applications retired, representing a nearly 30% reduction in applications. To support the Group Landing Zone on the cloud environment, FWD adopted an Agile approach and quickly developed MVPs to serve internal customers.

The Cloud Academy Programme is another key component of FWD's Cloud-first Strategy. The programme accelerates the cloud adoption journey by developing cloud skills across the organisation in all 10 markets. Over 1,000 staff have been trained in FWD Group, and the training rate has reached 100% in FWD Group office and Japan respectively. In total, 1,707 training courses have been conducted, and 87% of tech staff have been trained across 10 business units and FWD Group office.

One of the unique aspects of FWD's Cloud-first strategy is its ability to handle a multi-cloud environment. FWD has established a strong long-term partnership with both global top two public cloud providers, leveraging each other's strengths to co-develop innovative solutions. This approach allows FWD to take advantage of the unique benefits and features of each cloud provider, while also avoiding vendor lock-in.

In addition to the multi-cloud approach, FWD has adopted an event-driven architecture, which enables real-time processing of data and events. This approach allows FWD to build scalable and resilient systems that can handle millions of transactions and events. The event-driven architecture also enables FWD to leverage serverless computing, which allows for rapid scaling and reduces the need for server management.

FWD's ability to achieve such a high level of cloud adoption within a short timeframe is a testament to the company's strong leadership, technical expertise, and agile approach. By leveraging its partnership with Accenture, FWD was able to develop a comprehensive cloud migration programme that enabled the company to quickly and efficiently assess and migrate workloads to the cloud. The programme also enabled FWD to take advantage of the unique strengths of multiple cloud providers, including Azure and AWS, to deliver innovative and cutting-edge solutions to its customers.

Overall, FWD's Cloud-first Strategy, coupled with its focus on multi-cloud situations, event-driven architecture, and serverless approaches, has led to the FWD Group being well positioned in the industry.

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