First things first: do you have people with the right skills to support your cloud migration?

In my previous posts, I spoke about the benefits and challenges of moving to cloud and cautioned against losing control for the sake of speed to market.

In this final post, I’ll offer practical steps to employ to get the most out of your journey to the cloud.

Do you have people with the right skills?

The first thing to consider is whether you have people with the right skills in your organization to go on the journey with you. Skills shortage is a big challenge in financial services. FS firms are moving to the cloud—and they are going at scale. They need people with knowledge of risk and regulation, as well as cost management, integration of data, and how to combine off-premise cloud with on-premise data centers. They need people with skills and experience to navigate all the complexities of a cloud journey. These people are in high demand, but short supply.

In my second post, I offered five core principles to guide you on your cloud journey, one of which was moving non-core functions to the cloud. This is what most insurers start with, but the journey doesn’t end there. To get and stay on the path of becoming a truly cloud-enabled organization, insurers should have a sound, practical strategy that considers all angles.

Effective cloud management

In my first and second posts, I spoke about how cloud costs can grow rapidly and should be managed carefully. Ideally, companies will use automated management tools to control costs, improve governance and increase accountability in their cloud consumption. Effective cloud management can mean the difference between achieving the business case and missing the mark, and comprises of five critical components:

  1. Cloud operations, including support, cloud engineering, cloud service management, service desk and monitoring.
  2. Security operations, defined as flexible cyber and data protection services that can secure cloud environments and infrastructure.
  3. Cloud enhancement services, or managing cloud costs through analytics, actionable recommendations and operational improvement, as well as application remediation and re-architecture.
  4. Application management, including support, ongoing maintenance, enhancements and upgrades.
  5. Business process operations, the business layer on top of cloud technology assets and services that is focused on delivering improved business outcomes.

Three steps to assess risk

Evolving regulation adds another layer of complexity to the cloud journey. Accenture uses a three-step process to help banks and other financial services firms effectively assess their operational risk exposure:

  • Step 1: Conduct an operational assessment across the firm for navigating to the cloud.
  • Step 2: Review lower-level controls, conduct analysis to identify gaps, and document solutions, including mitigating solutions and prioritizing quick wins.
  • Step 3: Create a roadmap for the overall journey with a focus on aligning with regulatory approval timelines and risk mitigation.

What’s next? Five best-practice next steps:

Insurers may see the journey to cloud as daunting, but our experience indicates that five key steps can help deliver a smooth transition:

  1. Establish clear objectives. Before undertaking a move to cloud, insurers should determine what they hope to achieve in terms of cost savings, operational improvement and accelerated adoption of new technology.
  2. Assign ownership and responsibilities. The cloud transformation initiative calls for clear ownership and the assignment of key responsibilities to business owners, the IT team, and outside parties.
  3. Satisfy security and regulatory concerns. Insurers must keep data secure and private, but they should also take steps to make regulators understand that proper controls are in place.
  4. Create a comprehensive roadmap. A detailed roadmap helps keep the transformation initiative on course while reducing potential business disruption.
  5. Incorporate appropriate metrics. Measuring the right key performance indicators (KPIs) accurately and effectively helps identify early wins and build momentum as the transformation takes hold.

It’s important to remember that cloud is a journey, not a destination. For more insight into cloud for insurance, read our study on cloud in the EU or get in touch with me here.

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