Asia Awards 2022: Best cloud migration project—FWD Group


The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted working environments around the world. The new normal demanded adaptation and technological upgrades, with cloud adoption chief among them. With functions migrated to the cloud and data accessed from cloud servers, employees’ decision-making processes and productivity improved, all while working remotely. At this defining moment in the workplace evolution, FWD set out to leverage cloud technology and drive business growth. 

“I am truly inspired by FWD’s leadership and honored to be the technology partner for FWD. Technology is a key enabler to drive their mission to become ‘the’ digital insurer. It takes strong leadership and execution to become a cloud-first organization and their achievement in technology adoption such as cloud, data and AI is remarkable. FWD’s forward-thinking vision is demonstrated through the first-of-its-kind services launched in the market and it is this continuous innovation that differentiated them to pave the next era in our insurance industry.”
Connie Leung, senior director, financial services business lead Asia, Microsoft


FWD’s cloud-first strategy aimed to increase the availability and security of IT services, jumpstart innovation and reduce IT ownership costs in the long run. Its focus was on widescale cloud modernization and adoption, with the Digital Cloud Platform and Cloud Academy program being two major pillars. The former provides self-service provisioning and operational efficiency, while the latter levels up cloud fluency and skills across the organization. A third pillar, the Cloud Center of Excellence, ensures a continued flow of resources and expertise to support the furthering of innovation, scalability, and resilience through technology.


Already, 70% of FWD’s applications have been migrated to the cloud, with 280 of those making the transition in 2021. The company’s eventual goal is to move all its data to the cloud, with migration planned through 2023. This journey to reduce the on-premises datacenter footprint also means many more applications are being modernized for cloud services, while over 60% of applications targeted for retirement have already been decommissioned.


Cloud Migration Program: FWD adopted the 6R process of retiring, retaining, re-hosting, re-platforming, refactoring, and re-architecting. Applications were re-platformed to make the most of cloud-native software solutions and tools, with non-core applications moved to SaaS in the cloud, and high-volume, scalable applications re-hosted on infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platforms. Legacy applications that couldn’t be moved to the cloud were decoupled. An Azure data lake was also built, so as to take advantage of possibilities for data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Group Landing Zone: FWD’s Group Tech Office established a lightweight scrum framework and stuck to its defined events and pillars to maintain transparency and meet its goals for basis cloud adoption. It established long-term partnerships with two global public cloud providers, utilizing the strengths of both. 

Cloud Academy Program: FWD developed the cloud skills of employees across the organization in all 10 of its markets.

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