Case Study: Multicloud business drivers at MLC Life Insurance

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As it approached the end of life for a major services contract, MLC Life Insurance re-evaluated the part cloud computing could play in the company's future and the type of cloud approaches that best suited its future requirements.

Digital Nation Australia spoke to Scott Brown, head of technology and operations and MLC Life Insurance about the business drivers for the change.

“We had a full onsite private cloud, I guess is what you would say. So multiple racks in a data centre, all virtualised. But we didn't have line of sight into the detail. The managed services provider was managing all parts and aspects of operations,” said Brown.

The business took the opportunity to move to the cloud while building the in-house capability around that to give MLC a competitive edge, he said.

“Obviously exiting a main services provider presents financial opportunities, but then also presents challenges around making sure you build that capability in your teams. And I guess what we were seeing is that we had capabilities that were for what we needed five years ago and not what we need for tomorrow,” said Brown.

According to Brown, MLC Life Insurance had a very small footprint in the cloud that wasn’t well utilised. Despite the cloud often being more expensive than on-premise solutions, Brown said it was the on-going management and other hidden costs that were adding up for the business.

At the time of MLC’s last major refresh five years ago the business chose not to expand to a larger cloud footprint at the time. Since then the organisation was decoupled from NAB, one of several factors that created an environment for change.

“I think what's fundamentally changed is revisiting the strategy. So we had a cloud strategy. We already had a footprint in the cloud, but it was a very, like most other companies, very focused on re-engineering and moving to native services.

“The blocker to that is that it's a huge cost in time to do that. So you really need to have a very clear strategic plan, around what applications are part of your future and which ones it’s not worth doing.”

Brown told Digital Nation, “In nine months we've been able to stand up this new service on AWS, extending it out with VMC and essentially what we did is we went through the whole platform, looking for what is the low hanging fruit that could move to native? So things like file servers, DNS, easy services that you can turn on with AWS and transfer those,” he said.

“And then looking at the ones that were a little bit more complex that might take a bit more engineering, a bit more cost around that. And looking at using the skills that we already have with VMware to transfer or migrate those using VMC (VMware Cloud).”

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