After Accelerating Its Cloud Transformation, This Company Says There’s No Going Back

For iSelect, forward-thinking decisions made prior to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the importance of cloud transformation.

The insurance, utilities and personal finance purchasing service prides itself in being more than simply a comparison website. The majority of iSelect’s customers chose to speak over the phone with one of the company’s 190+ trained specialists.  As a high-touch service driven by human connection, the pandemic presented iSelect with a number of business continuity challenges. To support employee productivity, iSelect needed to fast-forward its already planned cloud transformation to:

  1. Secure access to core business applications and sensitive customer data.
  2. Set-up quality call connections in employees’ homes without lag.
  3. Continue collaboration and digital connection.

Adapting to the New Normal

The swift work-from-home transition was made possible by iSelect’s cloud transformation. In fact, the demands of the pandemic expedited its journey.

“We were already on a cloud transformation journey and have been working towards cloud-native. In January, we refreshed our hardware. And during that transition, we set the devices up on the cloud, so we could manage the devices centrally,” said Shannon Henwood, head of technology, iSelect.

In hindsight, this was extremely fortunate timing. Most organizations would never embark on an extensive transformation during a time as critical as a pandemic. But “that was how it happened,” Henwood said. And while it was a complex undertaking, iSelect’s success story demonstrates what’s possible.

With support from VMware and AWS, iSelect lifted its entire computing and storage infrastructure from the data center to the public cloud—within mere weeks.

  1. Migrated existing physical and virtual servers to the cloud infrastructure.
  2. Refactored for the advantages of cost-savings and scalability.
  3. Retired legacy applications.

AWS connectivity (is) better than what any data center could do. And I am proud to say there were no outages, there was no downtime. I can now focus on what I need to focus on, and I don’t need to worry about my infrastructure.

Shannon Henwood, head of technology, iSelect

Reaping the Fruits of Cloud Transformation

Simultaneously, iSelect reaped the advantages of cost optimization. “Being cloud-native means you no longer need to go buy storage, but instead, use it when you need it,” explained Henwood. Cloud transformation proved “very effective in terms of cost,” he continued.

The journey we are on proves that we are doing the right thing. The right structures and right people in place are of critical importance.

Shannon Henwood, Head of Technology, iSelect

Ensuring Triple Protection against Cyberthreats

Alongside empowering employees, a vital element was ensuring that customer data remained secure. This is especially important as cyber risks increase with a remote workforce.

Henwood believes security is everyone’s responsibility, and employee accountability is key. iSelect prioritizes integrating resources that focus on getting ahead of emerging threats. With VMware Cloud on AWS, iSelect has a more secure infrastructure and connectivity. Additional authentication and encryption on telephony add an extra layer of security.

And since compromised hardware can undermine additional layers of the system’s cybersecurity, iSelect no longer “[has] to worry about the data center anymore or hardware going down or connectivity issues by being in the cloud,” Henwood said.

Looking Forward

When asked if he will go back to the way it was before, Henwood replied, “No. Technology and enablement wasn’t front and center previously. And we want to keep innovating and using technology in a smart way that keeps up this new efficiency. Needing to have someone physically set up a computer in a particular location is no longer viable. I do not want to go back to that.”

Ultimately Henwood said, “Flexibility is key. The only constant is change. I do not know what will happen in the next six weeks, but we need to keep an open mind. Keep looking at emerging technologies. Keep being creative. And change is coming, so brace for it.”