South Africa Is Officially “Cloudy”

Insurers of all sizes and types are increasingly turning to cloud solutions to lower costs, remain agile and facilitate a truly digital experience.

“Many insurers looking to modernise their core systems are discovering that their on-premise hosting environment is insufficient to support new core system technology, as well as customers’ and agents’ real-time, ‘always on’ expectations,” according to Imran Ilyas of Insurance Innovation Reporter. “Cloud solutions can meet many business and IT needs, and insurers now have a viable option to deploy new core systems in the cloud instead of investing in upgrading and maintaining new IT infrastructure.”

South African insurance providers are no different from their global brethren in terms of wanting to adopt cloud technology, but many SA companies were deterred by the absence of large-scale, globally recognized data centres in their home country…until now.

Microsoft officially announced that it will soon open two new data centres for its cloud-based services in Johannesburg and Cape Town, respectively.

The Importance of Local Data Centres in SA

Why are local data centres so important?

“By moving data centres closer to customers, Microsoft is able to speed up cloud-service delivery and comply with laws that require certain data to be stored locally. The expansion in Africa will allow Microsoft to get a jump on its larger cloud rival Amazon.com,” according to Bloomberg.

Jon Tullett, research manager of IT Services at IDC Africa, was quoted by Biznews as saying this is a significant development.

“In the past, there have been a lot of questions around these providers’ commitment to the region because of their lack of data centre infrastructure on the continent…This is Microsoft showing that they are all in, with multiple data centres, full redundancy and the full stack of services available.”

Microsoft believes this move will power innovation in and opportunity in Africa.

Sapiens and Microsoft Azure

To better service its customers looking for an affordable and flexible option to traditional on-premise IT operations, Sapiens partnered with Microsoft Azure in 2015. Sapiens ALIS – Sapiens’ core policy administration suite for the life insurance, annuities, investments, pension, savings and medical markets for both individual and group markets – and Sapiens IDIT ‒ our flagship software suite for the short-term insurance market ‒ can be deployed over Microsoft’s secure cloud.

Leveraging Microsoft Azure’s proven, open and flexible cloud service platform, Sapiens customers can enjoy the benefits of our powerful policy administration systems, combined with the advantages of the cloud. They include:

  • A cost-efficient solution that utilizes Azure as the technology infrastructure
  • Rapid deployment
  • A highly scalable solution
  • Strong data security

Unlike the majority of our competitors in South Africa, Sapiens already has insurance customers who have gone into production with the cloud and we are seeing increasing interest. Relatively recently, for instance, we announced that a leading Nordic insurer selected Sapiens for a $30 million modernization project. The insurer’s processing environment will be managed via Sapiens’ hosted services, leveraging the Microsoft Azure cloud environment.

Sapiens would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our partners at Microsoft Azure. We are excited about the opportunities this has opened up for existing and prospective carriers in South Africa, who can benefit from the combination of Sapiens’ innovative products together with the secure and dependable Microsoft Azure cloud.

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Gary Tessendorf

Gary Tessendorf is Sapiens’ South African regional director. He possesses extensive experience in insurance technology and expertise in the South African market. Gary collaborates with insurers and financial services firms to help transform their business.

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