Accelerating the Financial Services Sector
to the Cloud

Technology transformation does not happen in a vacuum. There are cultural and economic changes to consider. Philip Armstrong
CIO, Great-West Life

CIO Philip Armstrong joined Great-West Life (GWL) in 2016 to reinvigorate Great-West Life’s brands in the face of changing technology and customer communication channels.

To do that, Armstrong sought to consolidate and transform legacy systems, reskill his IT team for the cloud, move to a hybrid cloud model, and modernize his organization through digital transformation. The effort started with integrating service channels and continued with a comprehensive move to the cloud: adopting SaaS apps and planning for elasticity. GWL’s secure cloud transformation has helped the organization realize savings through data center consolidation and branch hardware-based security appliance replacement. The company also enjoys greater operational flexibility, improved security, and better malware detection.

Company: Great-West Life
Sector: Financial Services
Driver: Philip Armstrong
Role: CIO
Revenue: $30 billion
Employees: 24,000
Countries: 4
Company IT Footprint: GWL is the oldest insurance brand in Canada, and it has major subsidiaries in the United States, Ireland, the UK, and Germany. Of its 24,000 global employees, 3,200 are in information technology.

Consolidate and transform legacy systems

Reskill IT to be cloud-first

Move to a hybrid cloud model

Modernize through digital transformation

Modernize brand

Integrate service channels — voice, text, web, smart device

Move to the cloud:

  • Adopt SaaS apps for discrete functions
  • Identify strategic priorities
  • Plan for elasticity

Develop multi-cloud, DevOps, monitoring skill sets

Centralize cloud oversight

Secure everything:

  • Integrate partners, third-party contractors
  • Create defensive redundancy

Data center/cloud integration, consolidation

Cultural shift to cloud, elasticity, monitoring

Cloud migration prioritization strategy in place

Improved security, malware detection

Cost savings from replacing remote-office security appliance stacks