IAG is planning to train 3,000 staff – around 20 per cent of its workforce – in its new Cloud Academy by June next year to assist in the company’s ongoing digital transformation.

Since establishing a new strategic vision in 2017 to leverage data and technology to drive customer experiences, the insurer has trained 800 staff in public cloud skills.

But IAG wants to ramp that up dramatically over the next six months, following the likes of Australia Post, RMIT, and Kmart, which have all set ambitious targets for staff training in cloud skills.

The ASX-listed insurer says it wants to transition from a traditional insurance company to become a “digital-first modular insurer” and it sees public cloud services as a key component of that change.

“If we want to be a digital-first modular insurer,” says IAG chief digital officer, Mark Drasutis, “then, digital-first modular insurers – ignore the insurer bit – operate cloud-first.”

Cloud skills

During Amazon Web Service’s annual conference in Las Vegas, Drasutis told Which-50 IAG now considers cloud options first, rather than on-premise, for any new workloads or applications, and is in the process of migrating several existing ones.

Drasutis, who led the led the digital product, platform, UXD, audience insights and innovation teams at NewsCorp, prior to joining IAG in 2017, says the more agile and flexible options of cloud computing allows IAG to adjust to changes.

“If we want to become a business that, true to our purpose, is making the world a safer place, then that means you’re scaled across more than just insurance,” Drasutis said noting technologies like IoT and telematics.

“We want to be an insurance company that’s able to respond as quickly and as effectively as a digital-first business to customers’ changes in expectations and needs.”

Expanding IAG’s capabilities through data and technology will ultimately allow the insurer to offer a better level of safety and more personalised coverage, Drasutis said.

“That’s a scaled problem. Therefore cloud is the natural extension point of where you start that conversation.”

IAG does not have specific targets set for the number of applications to move, but even with a preference for cloud, the insurer says its confident staff who currently focus on on-premise IT still have a future in the company.

The company’s Cloud Academy merges the hard skills of the new technology with the soft skills and innovation culture the providers are famous for, according to Alice Roberts, IAG director of cloud and continuous delivery.

Roberts told Which-50 the academy prepares employees for the approach and when the new skills are applied change is occurring. Importantly, Roberts says, the cloud academy is open to all IAG staff and does not focus only on engineers.

“AWS did a great job of having training programs and having engineering training. But we tried really hard to push in other things like lunch and learns on risk in cloud, or learn about regulations and how audit happens in cloud, or how the security really happens.”

“And trying to bring in things to really improve awareness and make people understand what’s possible in the cloud.”

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