CGI Helps Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Get on
People buy insurance and other financial services to secure peace of
mind. But who do financial services firms turn to for their own security?
For Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services, the answer is
clear. By entrusting their data processing and printing needs to CGI,
they get secure, reliable performance they can count on.
With their IT operations outsourced, Industrial Alliance can get on with
what they do best—providing highly competitive financial services
to customers throughout Canada.
Industrial Alliance is one of Canada’s fastest growing and most profitable
insurance and financial services firms. It manages over $14 billion in
Until 1996, Industrial Alliance outsourced its own IT operations and
those of its subsidiaries to another wholly owned subsidiary—the
IST Group—that specialized not in financial services but in IT outsourcing.
That year, however, Industrial Alliance decided to sell this IT outsourcing
subsidiary and concentrate on its core business: providing life and health
insurance and wealth management services to groups and individuals.
Industrial Alliance wanted an outside firm to take over IT operations
not only for itself and its existing subsidiaries, but for other firms
that Industrial Alliance would acquire down the road as it pursued its
Industrial Alliance found the ally they were looking for in CGI. CGI purchased
the IST Group from Industrial Alliance outright, taking over IST’s
data center and operations staff in the process. At the same time, CGI
received a five-year contract to provide outsourced IT services to Industrial
Alliance and its subsidiaries.
“Industrial Alliance handed us the keys to their core business applications,
because they saw us as experts who had the infrastructure, equipment,
and personnel to provide 24/7 availability,” says CGI’s John
Bennett, Vice-President, Outsourcing Services. “Besides benefiting
from our state-of-the-art facilities,” he adds, “they gained
access to leading-edge technologies along with a broad, deep pool of expertise
to manage their mainframe environment.”
Printing operations offer one good example of the synergies achieved.
Industrial Alliance’s National Life subsidiary used to do all its
printing in-house. Once CGI became its IT outsourcer, National Life started
using CGI’s state-of-the art printing facilities instead. National
Life thus gained substantial economies of scale, along with access to
more sophisticated, specialized services, such as electronic document
design and high-end color production.
Meanwhile, to protect Industrial Alliance’s mission-critical systems,
CGI maintains a bullet-proof recovery plan. If a system failure occurs,
CGI reroutes the client’s data to one of several alternative processing
sites and re-establishes full service at a backup center within 48 hours.
Network connections provided: 56 Kb,
128 Kb and PIX
Two years into Industrial Alliance’s contract with CGI, their information
storage and processing requirements had grown so much that the original
outsourcing agreement no longer met their needs. Industrial Alliance entertained
proposals from other providers, but their final decision was to repartner
with CGI, with a revised contract, for another 5 years. Why so?
As Jacques Martin, Industrial Alliance’s Senior Director of Information
Technology, explains, “We had two compelling reasons for renewing
with CGI. First and foremost was the quality of the dedicated team they
have taking care of us. These people have incredibly high technical skills,
and such a detailed knowledge of our specific environment that they’re
really like part of the family.”
Second, says Mr. Martin, was the way that CGI does business. “We
have always found CGI’s management team very open and approachable.
They really know how to listen to your needs and find the most effective
way to meet them”
Since the contract renewal, CGI has smoothly integrated IT operations
for newly acquired Seaboard Life into Industrial Alliance’s hosted
facilities at CGI’s data center. While CGI continues to meet its
IT needs, Industrial Alliance focuses on its core business. Now Canada’s
seventh-largest insurance and financial services firm, Industrial Alliance
is steadily moving up the ranks. With CGI to support them, Industrial
Alliance has the competition looking over their shoulders.