IBM Wins $500M Private Cloud Deal With The Hartford

IBM's new $500 private cloud win with The Hartford adds to a series of recent cloud deals for Big Blue.

IBM and The Hartford insurance company announced a new six-year, $500 million technology services agreement to implement a new service model that includes a private cloud infrastructure.

The Hartford will move to a private cloud-based infrastructure on IBM's PureFlex System. Under the agreement, IBM will also provide a number of other services related to mainframe, storage, backup and resiliency. The Hartford will define the services it requires, and IBM will be responsible for the solution and delivery of those services.

The partnership supports The Hartford's strategy to increase operational effectiveness as it continues to focus on its property and casualty, group benefits and mutual funds businesses, the company said.

"As The Hartford continues to execute on its strategic plan, we are making significant technology investments to increase operational effectiveness and improve our competitiveness," said Andy Napoli, president of Consumer Markets and Enterprise Business Services at The Hartford, in a statement. 'The partnership with IBM will help The Hartford implement a strategic technology infrastructure that will provide us with greater agility and offer us more flexibility and transparency as we continue to grow our businesses."

As part of the agreement, The Hartford and IBM will also partner on the creation of a joint innovation committee to foster collaboration on strategic initiatives. The project will leverage the expertise of both firms, market insights and research to build new business models and competitive capabilities that will enhance The Hartford's ability to anticipate and meet the needs of customers and agents.

"Today's announcement is an example of how leading organizations are utilizing cloud technology to gain competitive advantage," said Philip Guido, general manager of IBM Global Technology Services for North America, in a statement. "Clients today are looking for IT partners who can understand and help drive their business with a focus on innovation and delivering business outcomes, not just IT efficiency. This expansion of our partnership with The Hartford illustrates the work IBM is leading with cloud."

A recent IBM study reveals that 66 percent of organizations are using cloud to strengthen the relationship between IT and lines of business, and the majority are using cloud to integrate and apply mobile, social, analytics and big data technologies.

Meanwhile, in other IBM cloud news, earlier this week Lava International Ltd. (Lava), an Indian mobile handset provider, announced it had selected IBM SmartCloud Virtualized Server Recovery (VSR) services, a cloud-based disaster recovery solution, to ensure continuous business operations, manage costs and improve overall resiliency.

IBM’s SmartCloud VSR services provide automation and cloud tools to help businesses facilitate quicker recovery time and increase reliability of their server recovery. Lava now has a back up option to support its more than 2000 internal and external users, including top retailers and distributors in India. Lava has signed a 10-year deal for cloud services out of IBM's Bangalore data center. IBM will also perform 24/7 monitoring and management through automation of the hosted infrastructure.

"The need for uninterrupted business operations has become crucial for us to ensure enhanced customer engagement and protect critical business data," said Virendra Kumar Rai, vice president and head of IT at Lava, in a statement. "IBM's proven expertise in cloud-based virtual recovery provides us a highly resilient infrastructure that will help us mitigate downtime risks and ultimately ensure that we are able to meet the around-the-clock needs of our customers."

In the event of unexpected downtime, Lava can gain 100 percent functionality within just an hour, a process that is managed remotely. With competing offerings, this process would have taken between eight and 12 hours, the company said.

"It is important for organizations to have a strategic approach to business continuity and resiliency and the answer today is in the cloud,” said Ganesh Margabandhu, general manager of Global Technology Services for IBM India/South Asia, in a statement. "In the event of a disaster, a physical recovery approach may drastically increase the risk of data loss while significantly increasing recovery time as well."