Executive Perspectives

Effective Management Across Clouds Enables EMPLOYERS Insurance to Accelerate Growth

For more than a century, EMPLOYERS has been America’s small business insurance specialist, offering affordable and effective workers’ compensation policies to small companies. Facing aging, legacy IT infrastructure when they hired CIO, Jeff Shaw in 2017, he knew one thing for certain. To grow, a decision had to be made; invest in two additional data centers—or—move straight to the cloud. For many IT leaders, convincing the board and C-suite that migrating to the cloud is the right move isn’t easy but this case was different. Cost wise it was more like a lateral move so, Jeff focused conversations on long-term benefits, “We get to be nimble; we can scale up and down…it’s all the intangibles and once they saw the two options, it was clear which option we needed to go with.” Eventually, their team was taking advantage of the unique capabilities and tools of multiple public clouds and managing workloads across Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, IBM, and VMware Cloud on AWS.

Dale Ramsey, then Director of Infrastructure and now Vice President of Cloud Infrastructure at EMPLOYERS, wasn’t looking forward to a big migration but fully embraced the move knowing that with legacy infrastructure, they were always “just one little disaster away from losing the main datacenter for multiple days.” Which is never a good feeling when customers injured at work need insurance and are depending on you.

For EMPLOYERS, the move to the cloud and then multi-cloud has been a game changer that enabled IT teams to accomplish a myriad of projects in record time. For example, with Oracle cloud in their portfolio plus AWS as a primary, they were able to pair the right application with the right cloud. Jeff relays, “We were able to drive with native AWS development SaaS tools and when you couple that with our VMware Cloud, we [could] seamlessly move back and forth between the [clouds] and our customers never saw any difference.” This cross-cloud management capability was essential for the future success of the company. Another important aspect was upskilling Dave’s team, “VMware helped us get everything right. To get into VMware Cloud you need special skills and we retained everyone, we never hired anybody new.” And how did the migration go? With careful planning and retraining valued employees, they anticipated cloud migration to take an entire weekend. Instead, it was completed in nine hours with a little bit of tying up loose ends on Saturday, and no additional work was required Sunday.