CIO Straight Talk - Issue 11 - 13

WHERE THE
START-UPS ARE
Guardian Life Insurance spent two years
preparing its people, culture, and technology
for its own dramatic shift to the cloud. Over
Labor Day, it shut down its last owned data
center, leaving 20 percent of its resources in
co-located centers and the rest in the cloud.
"We really want our organization to be much
more enabling versus supporting," says Dean
Del Vecchio, Executive Vice President, CIO, and
Head of Enterprise Shared Services at Guardian
Life. In short order, the IT organization has gone
from spending 70 percent of its time on keeping
things up and running and 30 percent on
strategy and innovation to an even 50/50 split.

"THERE'S GOING TO BE AN
ECOSYSTEM THERE, AND THAT'S
WHY WE'RE SO EXCITED ABOUT
THE IMPACT CLOUD WILL HAVE ON
INNOVATION."
YURI MISNIK
EXECUTIVE GENERAL MANAGER
AND CIO
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK

The cloud-first strategy enabled that shift, says
Del Vecchio. But, just as importantly, "it puts us
closer to start-ups." The once tech-averse world
of insurance is now a hotbed of development
with technology companies raising billions
of dollars over the last four years to finance
disruptive and enabling technologies for the
industry. If Guardian wants to plug into that
opportunity, it needs to be in the cloud, says
Del Vecchio. "We can leverage third party
data in much more streamlined way to get

new insights. It allows us to do a lot of test
and learn quickly and cost effectively, spinning
things up to see if they work and spinning them
down if they don't."
Could the company operate on the bleeding
edge of "insure-tech" without the cloud? It's
possible, says Del Vecchio - "but not nearly
as efficiently or effectively. We'd be nowhere
near as nimble." Thanks to the cloud, the IT
organization will be in a better place to meet
rapidly evolving business demands, which
are in turn driven by changing customer
demands. "We're in a much better position to
support our businesses and, with changing
demographics, to meet customers when,
where, and how they want." For example,
Guardian was able to launch a digital platform
for its new direct-to-consumer business in
the cloud. The new offering is targeted at
tech-savvy millennials and will better position
the company to market, sell, and services its
dental, accident and critical illness products
one-on-one. "Without the cloud, it would be a
heavy investment just to do a pilot. That was
a big part of our thinking and strategy," says
Del Vecchio. "The cloud allows us to explore,
break new ground, and participate in the new
ecosystems that are emerging."

ECOSYSTEMS OF
SERVICES
In fact, that's where IT organizations are headed
with their cloud adoption: toward ecosystems of
an increasing array of cloud-enabled services.
"There are two major components to a cloud
strategy. The first is the decision to begin
moving workloads to cloud infrastructure and
reduce long-term hardware capitalization costs,"
says Rob Krugman, Chief Digital Officer for
Broadridge Financial Solutions. "The second,
which I believe is where the largest benefit

13



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CIO Straight Talk - Issue 11

http://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue11
http://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/womenintech2
http://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue11
http://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue10
http://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue9
http://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue8
http://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue7
http://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue6
http://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue5
http://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue4
http://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue3
http://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue2
http://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue1
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