Cloud Transformation Project of the Year
The Miles Smith Insurance Group, which can trace its origins back to 1925, has a reputation for developing, underwriting and arranging general and specialist insurance products for niche markets and high risk industries, Miles Smith operates two businesses, a Chartered Insurance Broker offering specialist and niche products to businesses and a scheme and affinities Lloyd’s wholesale Broker. Owned by the Specialist Risk Group which incorporates additional Broking businesses The Underwriting Exchange and more recently Square Mile Broking.
Having embarked on a ambitious Digital Transformation Programme following Private Equity acquisition Miles Smith adopted a Cloud First and Buy not Build strategy. With challenges of legacy on-premise applications and infrastructure hosted by multiple 3rd party providers they were constrained with various capacity and stability issues.
The business brief was to build a modern, flexible, cloud-based business services platform, that would deliver genuine value to the current users and provide a foundation to rapidly integrate and transform the systems moving forward. Simplification and consolidation was the key drivers to enable the remaining pillars of their transformation including selecting one of the large cloud IaaS platform providers.
Miles Smith head hunted Keith Bucknall to design and lead the Digital Transformation. Keith ran a rigorous RFP process before eventually selecting Navisite as his Cloud Transformation & managed service partner. Navisite were initially engaged to transform an aged VDI platform and after reviewing various options including hosted VDI and VMware based DaaS. Miles Smith selected a Citrix platform delivered on Microsoft Azure.
Navisite's professional services team worked collaboratively, to assess current state, design future state and then migrate and transform platforms, before finally delivering ongoing managed services. This delivered a far more stable, performant desktop experience to the business users, but importantly also enabled ongoing support for core broking applications that needed extended support for Wk2008 and SQL2008; while these applications themselves underwent transformation. Miles Smith also migrated the ageing Exchange platform to Office 365; moving through a staged upgrade by first building a dedicated Exchange 2016 tenant on Azure to test user experience and back-end integrations to legacy systems.
Outcomes: Service outages and incidents have reduced. Mobility has increased, and people can work remotely, GDPR controls were designed from the ground up leveraging Microsoft's capabilities, reducing exposure to fines or reputational damage.
Full business continuity has been delivered, increasing availability and security Performance of brokerage and other business applications has improved, users are reporting greater satisfaction with the experience and faster processing of jobs - estimated savings are over 200 hours per annum, per employee. The IT team are now engaged in more strategic tasks, having moved away from fire-fighting and maintenance activities.