Suncorp inks major cloud deal

Suncorp Microsoft Azure Deal

Suncorp has announced a new three-year deal with Microsoft set to substantially increase its public cloud footprint and support the organisation’s push to “wind down” its reliance on on-premise data centres.

The insurance group said the renewed partnership would help to “simplify its technology infrastructure, reduce costs, boost security and risk management capabilities, and more quickly develop and deploy digital solutions to deliver exceptional customer experiences”.

As part of the deal, Microsoft will also provide an additional 3,600 Surface devices for staff across Suncorp’s Australia and New Zealand arms – a bid to increase employees’ hybrid working opportunities and capabilities. This comes on top of the already 10,000 Surface devices in use across the organisation.

Under its existing multi-cloud strategy, the insurer aims to migrate 90 per cent of workloads to cloud by the end of this year. According to Suncorp EGM of IT Infrastructure, Charles Pizzato, the group currently has around 65 per cent of its applications in cloud.

The remaining 10 per cent of apps will sit in a “hybrid cloud environment”, set to be relocated to new colocation sites in Sydney.

These either legacy or sensitive workloads – which Pizzato previously noted are unsuitable for public cloud – are expected to sit in close proximity to its hyperscalers, enabling them to be fully integrated with workloads hosted across its multiple public cloud providers.

Suncorp said it plans to fully decouple itself from its data centres by January 2024.

While beginning its cloud journey nearly a decade ago with AWS, Suncorp has since adopted a multi-cloud operating environment, with workloads now hosted on Azure as well as Kyndryl’s zCloud, and pCloud.

“Once we’ve migrated our workloads to the cloud, we’ll be able to build and deploy digital solutions for our customers at game-changing speed,” Pizzato said.

He added: “We are always looking for opportunities to leverage cloud infrastructure to be more agile and responsive to market needs. The Microsoft Azure platform gives us that flexibility and scalability, along with the underlying security posture we need as a financial services organisation,” he added.

Suncorp noted that it is working with a number of partners, including IT consulting service Avanade, to accelerate its migration to Azure.

Hailing the deployment of an additional 3,600 Surface devices over the next 12 months, Suncorp praised “Microsoft’s modern device management capabilities” providing Suncorp employees “with a frictionless, secure and reliable user experience regardless of where they are working from”.

Pizzato added: “It’s crucial that we equip our team with the technology they need to work effectively wherever they are – in the office, at home or out in the community – so they can quickly adapt as operating conditions change and continue to deliver a fantastic experience for our customers.”

Suncorp has also deployed 150 Surface Hubs at its new headquarters in Brisbane and offices in Australia and New Zealand.

“These devices will help create collaborative hybrid meeting spaces that foster inclusion and ideation. They will also help galvanise Suncorp’s disaster response teams to better support customers during major natural disasters and weather events.”

Surface Laptops and Surface Hubs are integrated with Microsoft’s productivity and collaboration tools, including communication platform Teams, cloud storage service OneDrive, collaboration platform SharePoint and enterprise social networking service Yammer, “many of which Suncorp already uses”, it said.

Pizzato said the partnership with Microsoft will enable the organisation “to achieve our strategic transformation goals and innovation agenda”.