Suncorp New Zealand has announced it is doubling down on developing a technology-enabled workforce, following its success in adapting to fully remote work during last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns.
Suncorp NZ began a major digital overhaul in 2016 with a focus on offering employees the freedom to flexibly balance work, family and other commitments. This strategy proved prescient, enabling Suncorp NZ to continue serving the needs of its customers throughout the height of the pandemic.
Suncorp’s existing hybrid cloud architecture, built around the Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), enabled it to seamlessly shift its employees to fully remote work, which it says has validated its investment and accelerated its appetite for hybrid working.
Now Suncorp NZ is looking to further support its new ways of working and build on its efforts to foster a digital mindset among its employees, by bringing in additional Nutanix capabilities such as Clusters – a multicloud extension tool between public and private cloud environments. Clusters is anticipated to be central to the insurance firm’s technology roadmap.
Jane Brewer, Suncorp NZ’s executive general manager Technology and Transformation, said the resiliency, performance, security and simplicity of the Nutanix platform meant the insurer could focus on supporting its employees during the Covid crisis.
“We had two days’ notice before the country went into lockdown,” she said. “But because we didn’t have to worry about our underlying technology infrastructure, we were able to focus on ensuring our people had the equipment they needed to work safely at home, and on supporting them during the transition.”
“Although we were in lockdown, we were still serving our customers’ needs as if nothing had changed. Our flexible approach has always been about supporting our people to integrate their work and home life in a way that suits them, and although for many juggling personal and professional commitments became much harder during Covid-19, we’re proud that our technology only served to support our people and make this transition easier.”
The scalability and simplicity of the Nutanix platform were central to Suncorp NZ’s seamless transition to remote work, but the benefits also support the insurer’s long-term strategy of digital-first customer engagement.
“Because we’ve led with an infrastructure-first approach, much of the day-to-day operations and maintenance of our infrastructure have been greatly simplified, and our IT teams are empowered to focus on projects that generate more value for our employees and customers,” Brewer said.
One of these projects is the development of application programming interfaces (APIs) and portals to enable its network of brokers and advisers to integrate directly with Suncorp NZ’s core systems, to make its processes – from initial quotes through to claims – as streamlined and customer-friendly as possible.
The company is already the A/NZ region’s largest adopter of Files, Nutanix’ software-defined, scale-out file storage solution for unstructured data.
“Our infrastructure has played a huge part in supporting our employees to find a balance between individual preferences, productivity rhythms, and the needs of our customers and the business,” she said. “We’re now focussed on further developing our digital-enabled workforce and building the technological capability of our people.”
Lee Thompson, managing director at Nutanix A/NZ, said Suncorp NZ was a perfect example of an organisation successfully deploying hybrid cloud to meet the needs of its customers and ensure business resiliency in the face of disruption.