Catch the cloud computing wave

By Paul Tyler

Fidelity & Guaranty Life


I recently attended the kick-off event in NYC for Amazon Web Service’s AWS Summit 2013. This was the first stop on its now annual 12-city tour to talk about its cloud computing services and showcase its innovative clients. It felt like a rock concert for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Security actually held back a crowd of about 5,000 people pushing at the doors to get a front row seat. Just how big is cloud computing these days? Werner Vogels, the CTO for Amazon, said that 20,000 people have signed up to attend these events in person. But it’s a lot more than just hype that’s drawing the crowd.

What if someone wrote you a check tomorrow to spend 20 times the amount your current company spends on IT? By dramatically cutting costs on items like data storage and server instances, this is effectively what providers like Amazon are offering to do for you.

Every dollar you spend can go much, much farther than ever before. And along the way, many companies are using the cost and performance advantages to drive enormous market innovation. This will positively impact the life insurance and annuity business. For carriers who embrace the possibilities, cloud computing will enable a range of products and services that weren’t imaginable even five years ago. Product development cycles should get faster and cheaper. New business processing costs should drop. Pricing should come down for future policyholders.

For marketing firms and agents, it will open an entirely new world for marketing services and back office support that had been too expensive to purchase in the past. The revolution that started with cloud service providers like Salesforce.com and Constant Contact will only accelerate at a breathtaking pace. The vendor expo was filled with new companies jumping into the fold.

It’s time again to re-imagine how you market and manage your back office. What type of lead generation or workflow system would you really like to implement if the cost were cut by 75 percent? Keep a close eye on startups funded by companies like Salesforce.com, and don’t hesitate to experiment. I will continue to look for innovative startup companies in our space that leverage what cloud computing can offer firms and insurance agents and share them with you. Stay tuned.