Coverdell Estimates $1 Million Cost Savings over Three Years by Migrating to Azure

Exploring Digital Innovation to Maximize Business Strategy

Written By // Ric Opal

Advertising & Marketing
100
Chicago

Coverdell was looking to expand their customer base by including B2C offerings. With this new business strategy came increased sensitivity to downtime. The company knew they needed to look at a more robust solution in order to reduce risk while expanding the business.

Move from a legacy state to a cloud-managed platform in Azure to reduce the risk of downtime, drive significant cost-savings, and position the business for future innovation and growth.

Since 1964, Coverdell has helped millions of individuals and their families save time and money with everyday expenses by reducing the costs associated with healthcare, auto, and home ownership through non-insured discount benefit programs.

Over the past five years, the company pivoted from being a wholesale and sponsored provider to offering direct-to-customer products. Coverdell also absorbed 40 websites from a defunct parent company hosted on a separate co-located platform with a Salesforce backend that they needed to support – in addition to the 40 websites they already had from past and present business lines on their proprietary platform.

With the new business strategy came increased sensitivity to downtime. Meanwhile, maintaining two completely different web platforms increased maintenance costs and raised security and compliance concerns due to the increased time-to-implementation that required them to make changes across two distinct platforms. The company knew they needed to look at a more robust solution in order to reduce risk while expanding its offerings.

By migrating to Azure, this 100-person company was able to realize significant financial benefits, as well as deliver better services to online customers:

  • Coverdell saves $1 million dollars over a three-year period in web hosting costs
  • 90% decrease in time-to-implementation
  • Significantly reduces the risk of downtime with 99.99% availability in Azure

Expanding Business Operations and Increasing Profits in the Cloud

The organization’s decision to move from a legacy state to a cloud-managed platform in Azure was driven by two primary concerns:

  • Connectivity: If the main building had a power or internet interruption, all their e-commerce sites would also go down, leading to a loss of potential revenue and poor customer service. To satisfy the needs of the customers who expect quick and reliable service at their fingertips, Coverdell knew they could no longer tolerate these frequent interruptions that were outside of their control.
  • Cost Savings: Hosting numerous websites with SalesForce on a web and datacenter colocation site in Austin, TX was costing Coverdell over $750k/year. For a 100-person company, this was quickly adding up in cost and in internal and external resource time.

Coverdell knew consolidating their technologies to the cloud was their future, but like most midsize organizations, they did not have the in-house expertise or time to manage every potential risk and impact associated with this type of migration.

We have a solid internal team of infrastructure engineers, but no one had any direct experience with cloud technologies or Platform as a Service. We partnered with SWC to help flatten that learning curve for us and help transform our business.

– Vince L’Erario, Coverdell’s VP of Information Technology

Working Together in the Cloud

In collaboration with various areas of the business, SWC helped Coverdell envision a cloud migration strategy with the end goal of reducing cost, improving performance, and accelerating digital business transformation that would position the company for future growth. SWC determined that, by moving their data and core infrastructure to the cloud while shifting their websites to Azure Web App hosting, they could realize significant improvements in both productivity and cost savings.

SWC created an Azure cloud roadmap and proof-of-concept as a starting point to establish a timeline and break up the project into manageable phases. SWC was also able to help Coverdell take advantage of Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program to save time and money overall by consolidating their cloud licensing, road-mapping, implementation, user adoption and enablement needs, and ongoing managed services.

Working as a team, both SWC architects and Coverdell’s internal engineers identified core pieces of their infrastructure to migrate to Azure, focusing on their primary database, web services, and both internal and external websites. They planned and moved their legacy system to Azure cloud and re-platformed both on PaaS and IaaS dual infrastructure.

Huge Impact

The impact of the project has been huge, better than we expected.

– Vince L’Erario, Coverdell’s VP of Information Technology

Drastic Cost Savings

In phase two of the transformation, Coverdell moved the websites they had absorbed from their former parent, administered on SalesForce, onto their own platform now at Azure, saving the company $1 million dollars over a three-year period. This is a significant portion of their total revenue and by far the most tangible benefit.

Speed-of-Implementation

Speed-of-implementation has improved, making the team more productive. “Our legacy system inherited from our parent was run on outdated, confusing code,” L’Erario continued. “If there was a compliance change, it used to take us 2-3 weeks to make code edits to the website platform and longer if SalesForce changes were required. In Azure, on the simplified, modern architecture, it now takes us 2-3 days.” Now the Coverdell team has more time to focus on other business-critical projects and less on upkeep.

Connectivity Issues Solved

In the past, if there was a loss of connectivity or power in the main building, their independent e-commerce websites would also go down. This had the potential to cause customer service and revenue problems if customers were unable to enroll on or utilize their sites. Since moving to the cloud, this problem has been solved, allowing their 80 websites to be highly-available and preventing loss of revenue during blackouts.

Easy Scalability

As the company grows, they are now poised to easily and quickly scale their IT infrastructure in a way that would have been impossible before. “Being on Azure has allowed us to scale when needed, sometimes with just the click of a few buttons. It has also eased the path to many technologies that we use or want to use in the future,” said Ryan Sorensen, Coverdell’s Director of Application Development and Enterprise Architecture.

Improved Employee Satisfaction

Coverdell’s employees didn’t like utilizing two distinct administration platforms. Now, with one consolidated system on a robust Azure infrastructure, L’Erario reports that the streamlined experience provides a better user experience.

Unexpected Benefits

By modernizing their infrastructure, Coverdell also saw improvements in their print center performance, which they were able to connect over their existing internet connection. “We thought we’d have to pay extra for a more robust connection to the Azure data center,” said L’Erario, “but SWC designed it in a way that we could utilize our existing internet connection. That was fantastic.” Coverdell was also able to realize the fast, cost-effective implementation of Azure Service Bus, at a fraction of the time and cost planned for implementing another ESB, with minimal disruption to ongoing projects and staffing.

Looking to the Future

Looking ahead, Coverdell is excited about the possibilities of expanding a partnership with SWC. With a strong foundation built in the cloud, they’re exploring entirely new forms of decision-making using cloud analytics with the recent rollout of their Power BI visualizations. Next, they’re planning on moving from hosted Exchange and Outlook to Office 365.

The market is transformational, and we’re a small team. We’re now enabled to compete even better than larger, more bloated competitors.

– Vince L’Erario, Coverdell’s VP of Information Technology

Questions? Get in Touch

Just Released! 2018 Tech Insights ReportDownload
+