Across industries, business and technology leaders will agree that the future is in the cloud. Within insurance, it’s safe to say that most insurers are at some stage of cloud adoption. As insurers embrace cloud computing and migrate various applications to the cloud, core systems vendors—specifically Guidewire—are giving insurers the option to move their core applications to the Guidewire Cloud solution on AWS.
To bolster the speed of software upgrades and make features and capabilities available more quickly to their customer base, Guidewire is offering Guidewire Cloud to their InsuranceSuite customers. Guidewire Cloud for insurance allows for frequent and less disruptive upgrades as well as the transfer of the management of IT issues to Guidewire, which can lead to time and cost savings for insurers.
For Guidewire InsuranceSuite customers who are considering this upgrade to the cloud platform, here are the top Q&A to consider for a successful journey to Guidewire Cloud.
Top Q&A to Help Insurers Prepare for Upgrading to Guidewire Cloud
Q1: What is Guidewire Cloud?
Guidewire Cloud is a software-as-service (SaaS) solution-based platform on Amazon Web Services (AWS). It is specifically designed to use with Guidewire InsuranceSuite core applications. It includes cloud-native services, configuration tools, common data models, embedded analytics, and open APIs. Based on a hybrid-tenancy model, Guidewire started distributing its platform as a cloud service in 2019.
Q2: What are the advantages of Guidewire Cloud?
The Guidewire Cloud is optimized to work with Guidewire products and software. This reduces IT complexity and allows insurers to quickly leverage new tools rolled out by Guidewire to drive business benefits. Insurers will also be able to use the latest version of the software without the hassle of maintenance, implementation and upgrades.
Additionally, similar to moving to other cloud platforms, insurers will save on infrastructure and operational overhead costs, can shift application security to Guidewire, and improve on their disaster recovery plans. Reaping all these benefits requires insurers to thoughtfully align their business and IT efforts in a roadmap to cloud adoption.
Q3: How does Guidewire Cloud compare to the competition?
Guidewire Cloud for insurance is hosted on AWS, similar to other cloud platforms in the market. However, a huge benefit to using the Guidewire Cloud with Guidewire products is that is that it provides an optimized cloud environment for Guidewire software.
Q4: How long will it take to implement Guidewire Cloud?
A typical Guidewire Cloud implementation can be broken down into five phases—Readiness, Transition, Migration, Stabilization, and Deployment—with each phase taking one to four weeks in duration. In total, the implementation can take up to six months, depending on the size of your organization. The breakout of the phases is below:
- The Readiness stage includes assessment pre-work and the review of technical findings from a Cloud optimization backlog. This can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks depending on the size of your organization.
- The Transition stage includes a Program Roadmap definition, the development of a list of designated functions and key workflows, the creation of a conceptual Sprint Plan, and a proposed Testing Strategy. This can take anywhere from 3-4 weeks.
- The Migration stage includes Cloud Optimization and Remediation, the demonstration of key Cloud functionalities, and the execution of a test plan. An early systems integration test may be performed where appropriate. This stage can take anywhere from 2-4 months
- The Stabilization stage is where end-to-end System Integration Testing (SIT) and Support User Acceptance Testing (UAT) are performed. Users are trained and a deployment plan is finalized. This stage lasts 2-4 months.
- The Deployment stage is where a post-production support plan and cloud data access strategy is created. Warranty support is provided. This usually lasts one week to a month.
Q5: What are potential obstacles involved with transitioning to Guidewire Cloud?
Some potential challenges to Guidewire Cloud upgrade include: existing dependencies, siloed legacy applications and databases, data migration and data transfer, and management issues. An inadequate adoption strategy may also amplify migration cost. SI partners can be leveraged to provide post-production support, as well as remediation and optimization work during the transition.
Q6: How can I avoid potential hurdles when making the move to Guidewire Cloud?
Overall, a phased approach for evaluating all parameters to align with Guidewire Cloud standards, infrastructure, and architecture will help to avoid any hurdles during Guidewire Cloud implementation. This includes reducing reliance on legacy systems, simplifying the IT landscape, and limiting customizations to out-of-the box (OOTB) functionalities which will lead to code quality issues and violations of coding best practices.
It’s also essential for the current application(s) to be maintained in compliance with Core product, with minimum deviation. This will reduce the effort when upgrading to the latest version of the Cloud.
Following Guidewire recommended reference architecture to re-design existing interfaces and develop new interfaces and functionalities using Guidewire SurePath guidelines and standards will positively impact the migration journey.
Additionally, cleaning up technical debt by refactoring the code to align with Guidewire’s best practices and SurePath methodology will provide a boost to application performance and stability while providing a clear path for any future upgrades.
Q7: How can I gauge my organization’s level of readiness?
For insurers considering upgrading to Guidewire Cloud, engaging with Guidewire and an SI partner to perform a Cloud Transition Assessment will give you an idea of your organization’s level of readiness. This assessment will look at your needs for configuration and integration. As part of the assessment, Guidewire will publish a “mandatory terms” list covering the readiness activities prior to initiating upgrade. The transition assessment and the mandatory terms will give you an idea of what is needed to prepare your organization for Cloud upgrade.
Q8: How do I secure the Cloud?
Cloud providers are responsible for securing data and applications on their platform, and Guidewire Cloud is no different. Guidewire Cloud offers third-party compliance programs and certifications to ensure your customer data is safe, secure, and aligned with industry standards. These programs safe-guard servers, storage, applications, and data.
Even though Guidewire Cloud will provide the necessary security for the data and applications on their platform, it’s industry best practice for insurers to have a framework for enterprise cloud security. This will allow insurers to establish controls across their organization to safeguard and protect the company’s data and assets.
With speed being imperative in the digital age, the ability to leverage the most recent software version of the core applications as well as the newest features and tools can be a competitive advantage for any insurer. In a time when insurance ecosystem is getting disrupted, upgrading to Guidewire Cloud solution on AWS enables insurers to seek maximum value out their investments. To learn how you can assess, plan, and strategize your Guidewire cloud upgrade journey, check out our Core Upgrade services.