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Automated IT provisioning accelerates AIA’s cloud migration

AIA Group

With a presence in 18 markets across the Asia Pacific region, AIA Group needed to modernize its approach by migrating 90% of its business workloads to the cloud. It relies on Red Hat® Ansible® Automation Platform to eliminate manual provisioning and configuration processes while improving security and compliance.

For more than 100 years as Asia’s largest life insurance and securities group, AIA provides insurance, retirement planning, and wealth management services to its customers, and is now doing so faster and more efficiently. With Red Hat’s help, AIA drastically cut provisioning times from over 90 days to about an hour, significantly accelerating time to market.


Challenge

New solutions for the next century of service

AIA took an opportunity to assess its position and realized that its on-site IT infrastructure was struggling to maintain a competitive service. Provisioning a new service environment required a lead time of up to six months and tedious manual updates to complicated spreadsheets.

 

The link between cloud adoption and the organization’s success became clearer. Migrating to the cloud was fundamental to scaling the business in the face of new demands, including the COVID-19 pandemic. AIA decided that the cloud should underpin the organization’s goal of creating compelling propositions, providing faster distribution, and improving customer experiences.

 

AIA's Cloud-First Program was launched in January 2020 as the delivery vehicle for the group's cloud-first IT strategy, focusing on three distinct pillars: technology, digital services, and analytics. To accelerate its development and delivery processes, AIA set the ambitious goal of migrating 90% of its workloads to the cloud within three years.

Solution

An accelerated but measured deployment

AIA had to first ensure the extent to which automation would enable provisioning, deployment, and management of resources across the cloud-first infrastructure. Setting an ambitious timeline was key to the roll-out of the cloud throughout the enterprise. Starting from a low base of under 10% of computing in public clouds, AIA aimed to accelerate its adoption and migrate 35% of workloads to the cloud by December 2020, rising to 70% by December 2021, and 90% by the end of 2022.

 

With a focus to adhere to prevailing information security, architecture, design, and operations standards across its group activities, AIA decided to standardize on Red Hat’s Ansible Automation Platform. The agentless technology was ideal for handling complex deployments and repetitive tasks. Easy-to-understand Ansible Playbooks allow teams across the organization to share, evaluate, and manage automation content.

 

Working closely with Red Hat Consulting, AIA implemented the platform, which included setting up integration with its ServiceNow request tool and building several self-service catalogs.

 

Although the implementation was complex, support from Red Hat, ServiceNow, and AIA’s security vendor helped ensure everything was successfully integrated across the organization in just two months. AIA’s deployment is now the largest Ansible Automation Platform site in Hong Kong, with 5,100 managed nodes.

Business outcome

Delivering a faster, more secure environment

Red Hat helped AIA automate the manual, spreadsheet-based provisioning process. This enabled engineers to create new environments in its Azure cloud that can develop, test, and deliver services to market faster. The entire provisioning process now takes just one hour, compared to over three months previously. AIA’s teams were free to focus on higher-value strategic work, avoiding time-consuming manual tasks.

 

The standardization process significantly reduced the business risk associated with AIA’s on-site regional datacenter.  AIA also reduced the costs of hosting, maintenance, and other functions. In the first year alone, AIA achieved over 100 "as-a-service" processes for an even larger number of corresponding use cases. Accompanying architecture and design patterns supported and complemented the process. 

 

The migration process also improved the security and compliance of AIA’s development infrastructure and environments. Ansible Automation Platform helped the insurance organization align with corporate governance and compliance measures to reduce risk from human error and other threats.

 

In just 18 months, the company has expanded its cloud footprint from fewer than 800 workloads to more than 4,000 deployed across three public clouds. AIA has made significant progress towards its goal to fully migrate its legacy infrastructure to a new cloud environment by the end of 2022.

As we focus on our cloud-first strategy, our ultimate aim is to completely replace and modernize our legacy infrastructure. That work requires not just dedication across the business, but also ongoing support from Red Hat.

Marcel Malan

Head of Group IT Operations, AIA


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