First Cloud Venture Proves Successful for Northeast Insurance Company

This Northeast Insurance Company was at a critical point — they needed to plan for several Mainframe technology upgrades, to IBM hardware, mainframe storage, virtual tape solutions and various mainframe connectors. Learn why Blue Hill was selected.

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This Northeast Insurance Company was at a critical point — they needed to plan for several Mainframe technology upgrades, to IBM hardware, mainframe storage, virtual tape solutions and various mainframe connectors. To ensure they remained on a supported platform, it was essential that their hardware upgrades be completed within a specific timeframe. Their expectation was that over a seven year period, they would have moved all of the applications running on the mainframe to server based systems.

“We had been trying to build a business case for utilizing cloud technology. We were also faced with having to replace the mainframe that was at end of life, and we looked at options to manage the mainframe more cost effectively, as we moved applications off over a period of years.”

The Northeast Insurance Companies traditional approach would have been to purchase new mainframe equipment and install it in their data center. But because they required the mainframe for a limited number of years, they decided to investigate options to find a more cost effective, flexible alternative. They also wanted to mitigate the potential risk of losing critical technical support staff due to retirement.

Their timeframe to replace the mainframe was seven years, at which time their critical applications would be running in a web-based open systems environment. Their costs would decrease as they moved applications off the mainframe.

“When we first approached Blue Hill, the first iteration of the cost analysis didn’t appear to be cost effective. Blue Hill was very transparent and helped us understand all aspects of their pricing model to ensure we were not duplicating efforts or costs. Blue Hill offered to take the time to review this analysis with us, being very transparent, and together we were able to make adjustments that made the project very cost effective.”

After a comprehensive review of available options, they determined that migrating to a hosted mainframe solution with Blue Hill was the best approach in addressing their needs.

“Our cultures matched, they were spot-on.

“When we called one of Blue Hill’s references, another insurance company, they told us they didn’t normally give references but ‘we will ALWAYS give a reference for Blue Hill. They are one of our favorite partners.’”

Blue Hill offered significant flexibility, reduced costs, and dependable, on-shore services, providing the groundwork with moving their systems to Blue Hill’s robust facilities.

“It was extremely important to build a solid business case to present to our executives. As a company, we use a very conservative approach to doing business. We began with laying out the financial implications. Our approval processes are very stringent, beginning with our executive management team, then gaining approval from our leadership council, and then getting final sign off from our Board of Directors. The Gartner endorsement provided the validation needed to present to our management team and Executive Board for approval.”

The transition and migration was seamless, resulting in:

  • A positive initial experience with infrastructure outsourcing/private cloud in a well-defined, discrete environment; since this was their first venture into the cloud, they felt it was a good way to manage the risk associated with running the mainframe securely
  • A more cost effective solution for maintaining their mainframe environment
  • Decremental pricing as their mainframe requirements decreased over time
  • Dedicated Disaster Recovery service, an improvement over the subscription based models
  • Flexibility to take advantage of additional Blue Hill services as needed; as people with particular mainframe skills retired, they could rely on Blue Hill’s ample portfolio of services to fill the gap

“A side benefit is that we now provide faster service to all of our customers, and our development team really appreciates this. We had heard we would get better performance, but until you see it for yourself you don’t really believe it. We are now getting better performance not just on transactions, but also on our batch jobs as well. The processing is running faster than when the machine was here.

“And, our data center manager was able to free up time to complete strategic projects, and place our talented folks across other disciplines.

“Blue Hill’s flexibility allowed us to begin this important first step in our private cloud journey, and then we can add on services down the line as we need them. We’re still running our mainframe, but now it’s on Blue Hill’s premise. This was the first time our very conservative company would consider using an outside vendor to run our systems, and it’s a good way for us to manage risk.

“We deal with a lot of vendors, but there are only a few we consider a true partner, and Blue Hill is one of them. Blue Hill listens to us and works with us, is flexible, open and transparent, and has become an integral part of our team.”