This week marked a very interesting development involving Amazon and two core systems vendors focused on PAS and adjacent capabilities supporting different lines of business, as both EIS and Guidewire were awarded Amazon’s “AWS Financial Services Competency”. Cloud computing continues to make significant strides in taking on key workloads for carriers, irrespective of size and line-of-business focus. Once approached cautiously because of concerns over things like security, when compared with traditional deployment methods, the cloud provider space has significantly matured in recent years. Today security, which was once considered to be an Achilles’ heel for cloud providers, is now considered to be one of the strengths for top-tier service providers. Many CIO’s now understand that the security that a provider like Amazon, Microsoft or Google (to name three) can deliver is better than what is available via company-owned facilities. To test this, and build organizational comfort and support for cloud-based solutions, carriers increasingly have moved key workloads such as email, HR platforms, CRM solutions and financial systems to cloud offerings. In fact, during recent Special Interest Group sessions (sample summary here) Novarica hosted with carriers from widely different lines of business, one of the comments that insurance CIO’s repeatedly offered was that it is getting increasingly difficult to procure non-cloud-based solution sets from companies like Oracle and Microsoft. The push is on to move ever more complex and mission critical offerings to the cloud.
Up to this point, there have been somewhat limited deployments of PAS suites in this space, such as Liberty Mutual Benefits’ recent and notable decision to move forward with an EIS deployment on Amazon Web Services. Which brings us to this week’s news about EIS and Guidewire. As the press releases noted, this is a differentiating event for these companies which should have carriers and competitor software solution providers taking note. While these two firms represent the start of something new, for properly architected solutions, we expect that this type of certification will be increasingly important. Given the increase desire of carrier CIO’s to leverage cloud-based computing, the certifications can be not only a means of achieving greater confidence in a particular solution’s ability to support their needs, but may also become a key differentiator when weighing alternatives for carrying specific workloads.
We’ve already seen a range of insurance applications, including underwriting workbenches and claims platforms, move to being delivered only as cloud offerings (e.g., ClaimVantage for Life, Disability and Absence claims). Having PAS suites join the mix of options is likely to be welcomed by many CIO’s and their teams as they move forward with key transformation events in their organizations.