In This Case Study

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About the healthcare insurer

With nearly 50,000 employees and serving 20 million customers, this U.S.-based Fortune 100 healthcare insurance company has a long history of successful care delivery and health plan administration. Its broad range of clinical capabilities, resources and tools include in-home care, behavioral health, pharmacy services, data analytics and wellness solutions.

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The challenge

Several years ago, a large healthcare insurer had embarked on a journey to mature its cloud computing capabilities in an effort to become more agile and innovative and to better serve its employees and patients.

The insurer initially engaged a well-known consulting house to design and implement a next-generation cloud architecture strategy. However, after two costly engagements, the insurer's IT team was frustrated that the consultant's cloud strategy did not provide the actionable detail required to operationalize strategy and translate it into architectural specifics. Both engagements were considered failures. 

Ultimately, the consultant's lack of cloud implementation capabilities meant added complexity and work for the insurer's IT team, which was already burdened by the demands of a significant reorganization. What the healthcare insurer really needed was a partner to bridge the gap between cloud strategy and execution.

Rather than work through a third iteration with the consultancy, the insurer's new CTO sought out the cloud experts at WWT for feedback on the status and direction of its current cloud architecture strategy and design. Within two weeks of the CTO's request, WWT turned around a comprehensive 40-page response, complete with high-level strategy recommendations and references to similar engagements completed for other customers.

The healthcare insurer appreciated WWT's sense of urgency, the value we added in our substantial response to the CTO's request, our alignment with the major cloud service providers (i.e., Microsoft AzureAmazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform), our extensive relationships with both established and cutting-edge OEMs (e.g., Equinix), and our clear commitment to the insurer's success.

As a result, the insurer engaged WWT to provide concrete recommendations and a holistic strategy for both multicloud connectivity and the segmentation of resources operating within their cloud environments. This entailed fully developing and vetting connectivity and segmentation strategies to ensure the desired Cloud 3.0 environment would accommodate all business, workload and application requirements.

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Solution overview

With approval to proceed through a phased approach, our team quickly analyzed the insurer's current-state cloud architecture, recommended a proper plan to bridge gaps, codified an overarching cloud connectivity and security strategy to serve as a guide for a minimum viable product (MVP) of the insurer's cloud platform, and then helped implement the enhancements by deploying on-site strategic resources.

Along the way, WWT worked with the customer to identify an enablement strategy for their cloud migration launch through the recursive activity of refactoring and rebuilding applications and then moving prioritized applications to the cloud. We also designed a software-defined interconnect strategy, plus an orchestration and automation approach.

At a high level, the components of WWT's cloud services included:

Cloud planning, business case development and delivery management

After soliciting technical and functional requirements from the insurer, WWT built a financial model that reflected the relevant business cases for the expected annual run costs of the cloud platform, migration efforts and potential cost-saving opportunities.

Cloud strategy gap analysis

After reviewing two assessments of the customer's current-state environment from the prior consultancy, our cloud experts built a gap analysis strategy to identify and mitigate the remaining issues. Our strategy prioritized the insurer's unique requirements around logging, monitoring, security, automation and compliance.

Cloud enablement strategy build

WWT created a cloud strategy blueprint that incorporated cloud networkingcloud security and all the foundational cloud platform components needed to solidify future-state design decisions.

Our experts also worked with the insurer's IT team to identify unique requirements regarding compliance and security, helping prioritize efforts on identity enablement and cloud governance along the way.

To secure and protect the customer's applications, our solution enabled transparency in application publishing, provided a distributed analysis of service attacks, and established an appropriate egress of applications. We also focused on micro-segmentation within the insurer's cloud environment to preemptively contain threat vectors.

Cloud observability and automation

WWT then worked with the insurer to establish the core concepts of system automation, orchestration and observability as overarching and integral components of the future-state cloud platform. Our solution enabled enhanced observability and security by introducing transparency in logging, monitoring and analytics processes to their cloud environment.

To meet the insurer's requirement that all workloads be automated, our solution leveraged integrations with cloud infrastructure and automation technologies, Terraform and Ansible. We also worked with the insurer to identify industry use cases and the appropriate automation tools for each workload.

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As a result of WWT's timely intervention, the healthcare insurer came away with a detailed and actionable strategy to achieve its multicloud connectivity and network segmentation goals.

From the start, WWT's objective was to deliver a holistic plan that was specific, achievable and necessary to realize the customer's vision. Given the overwhelming number of tools and services available for workloads across public, hybrid and private cloud environments, it's no surprise when an organization struggles to solidify an effective cloud strategy. This can be especially true when engaging a consulting partner who only specializes in either the strategy side of cloud solutions or the implementation side. 

Our cloud consultants sit down with customers to understand their business vision, then develop a strategy that incorporates the right mix of cloud tools and services to make that vision a reality.

In terms of outcomes from this cloud strategy and design engagement, WWT helped the healthcare insurer:

  • Expertly identify and assess their cloud needs, business goals and gaps
  • Determine the right process model for their industry and business goals
  • Build actionable cloud enablement, migration and network segmentation strategies
  • Position itself for future success with a well-rationalized cloud roadmap built on automation, orchestration and strong security protocols

With a new strategy and enablement plan from WWT, the insurer was able to implement and realize the full benefits of their next-generation cloud platform faster and with much less rework -- ultimately resulting in a quicker return on investment for the business and a better experience for employees and patients.

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