In my previous post I wrote about how digital disruption is bringing the opportunity to develop brand loyalty. To support this development, CIOs are thinking about the structures to support new digital approaches for life insurance and annuity carriers. Systems must be able to provide 100 percent uptime, scale—or “hyperscale”—in response to growing demand and provide high-velocity access to broad areas of data at any moment.

As carriers find more value in data and computing power, technology leaders will soon face a choice between building big-data computing infrastructure or outsourcing computation to external clouds. The pace of digital transformation, though, might demand too much investment for any but the largest national and global carriers to manage. The availability of cloud-based computing models provides a tempting alternative.

The complexity of infrastructure

It’s not as simple as settling on cloud technology and moving forward. Different business needs suggest different computing choices—predictable demand for dataflow implies different hardware abilities than a high-variability business. Decisions and operations based on vast amounts of data are not the same as live analytics or interactive video communications, which require intensive on-demand computation.

Choosing a cloud computing provider will require an understanding of hardware and software options, and their implications. Cost decisions are affected by the power and infrastructure demands of varying CPU types, and computation may be completed most efficiently by specialized graphics or physics processing units, or other dedicated processors designed in numerous configurations.

For complex computations, the implications of a carrier’s business code will also become significant, and insurance technology leaders will need to optimize code in keeping with hardware choices, while remaining aware of possible infrastructure changes.

Making decisions operational

From Digitally Disrupted to Digital Disrupter
Read the report.

As life insurance and annuity CIOs take steps to operationalize cloud technology decisions, they will be making decisions about the future scale of their organization’s data and computation, and the opportunities that might expand that scale. They will be clear on present data storage needs, projected data trends and the likelihood that disruptive technology for insurance means moving quickly towards big-data storage—and entire new classes of data.

The next wave of disruptive technology provides carriers with a wealth of opportunities to provide new services, enter new markets, and find and retain customers on a new scale. To make use of the technology, carriers will have to decide how the support infrastructure can be efficiently and effectively put in place and maintained. Cloud computing, set up with vision and care, can be the solution.

In my next post, I’ll look into the implications of this investment, and how life insurance and annuity carriers can maximize their ROI in computing.

To learn more, download the report: Accenture Technology Vision for 2014.

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