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AIA uses ITSM and ITOM

AIA strikes digital gold with business transformation

Connects AIA’s lines of business through cloud automation

Aligns service delivery to TDA strategic initiatives

Single platform for easy access to the right tools



The insurance industry is in the throes of significant change as people turn to digital channels to life and health protection, manage money and access financial products and services. Insurance has enormous potential to scale its promise of healthier and better-protected societies via digitisation, but it needs to speed up: according to one study, fewer than 25% of the world’s top 100 insurers have “truly digitised [their] value chain”.

AIA, the largest independent publicly-listed pan-Asian life insurance group, is harnessing this momentum to make digitisation the foundation of its next wave of growth. Its corporate strategy aims to digitise business operations and user experience for its tens of millions of customers, improve speed of delivery and achieve AIA’s goal of accelerating business growth.

Marcel Malan, AIA’s Head of Group IT operations and General Manager, has spent most of his five-year tenure at the company helping turn this ambition into reality. AIA’s strategy for doing so is a three-point programme focused on technology, digital and analytics (TDA)—a term that describes how the company is driving adoption of digitalisation, tools, data analytics and AI through the modernisation of its cloud infrastructure. It encompasses 470 individual initiatives comprising everything from boosting agility to strengthening cybersecurity. Underpinning all this is AIA’s newly-established cloud architecture—a prerequisite for the entire TDA campaign, in Malan’s telling.

“In a traditional environment, where you run private data centres, you face the real challenge of having to order, implement and build hardware”, he says. “Our rapid cloud adoption has been a foundational capability for us to connect and build a more agile, secure and efficient platform for our business”.

This means that instead of worrying about the nuts and bolts of running an on-premises server, AIA has been able to massively increase the scale of its data processing by migrating to the cloud. Malan highlights a recent change to AIA’s operational requirements which caused a 400% increase in demands for processing, 1.2 billion records daily across 17 platforms—a deluge Malan’s team would have been hard-pressed to deal with in pre-cloud times. These kinds of activations have resulted in “multi-million dollar” cost savings for the business, according to Malan.

Setting table stakes
AIA’s transition to the public cloud—a task Malan says was over 70% complete in 2021—has unlocked a number of significant benefits for the company. It has allowed widespread automation of back-office work: Malan says close to 60% of such activities are handled without human intervention.

It has also sparked a shift in human resources, in particular staff training and up-skilling. AIA established a “cloud academy” for internal talent in January 2020. It has since seen 600 technology employees enrol, including 200 “graduates”. This helps the company create a talent base that is engaged, inspired and motivated to deliver value for the business.

“A big part of our success story is our ability to use Cloud Academy to not only train people, but also to give them that development experience to achieve the strategic objectives of AIA”, Malan says.

AIA uses cloud automation so that developers and internal IT staff can put together the building blocks of solutions via a self-service catalogue of services. ServiceNow IT Service Management (ITSM) and IT Operations Management (ITOM) platforms constitute the foundation of this system.

Digital employee experience
AIA’s employees—more than 23,000 of them in 18 markets across Asia-Pacific—who need to complete everything from simple routines like booking leave to more complicated duties like mapping out a budget as part of their daily jobs, can now do so over digital channels. The ability to take care of these kinds of tasks in a seamless, intuitive way, accessible from any device, is a hallmark of the TDA programme.

This effortless, friction-free experience extends to staff collaboration, which Malan calls “table stakes”—a baseline for a quality worker experience and one of the reasons AIA won an Exceptional Workplace Award from Gallup, an analytics firm. Encompassing employee wellbeing, effective internal communications and high-quality leadership, the award recognised AIA among its 41 honourees for the first time in 2022.

“The leadership in our organisation has continued to emphasise the importance of our employees and the value that they bring”, Malan says. “Creating a digital environment where people can get access to the right tools and deliver the outcomes has been a major focus area for us”.

Millions of small parts moving together
One of Malan’s biggest challenges is providing a unified digital experience for over 40 million individual policies and 17 million members of group policies across a huge region with disparate languages, cultures and political systems. Against this fragmented backdrop, forward-thinking organisations need to streamline and centralise where possible, while granting regional teams sufficient space to adapt to local circumstances.

Malan especially highlights variances in regulation, cybersecurity landscapes and talent pipelines, all of which were thrown into chaos by the covid-19 pandemic. For all the suffering it caused, the pandemic helped underscore the role of leadership in helping organisations navigate crises, according to Malan. “How do we make sure we both keep our people mentally healthy and our transformation on track?” he posits. “It comes down to exceptional leadership driving our purpose in helping people live healthier, longer, better lives”.

Getting the employee to feel like a customer
Malan says ITSM and ITOM solutions have been fundamental in synchronising technology services and operations on a single cloud platform, as this helps him and his team achieve extraordinary technology experiences, cost-effective services, and scale their efficiency with automation.  Having already built its interface between IT and the rest of the company using ITSM before Malan joined the company, AIA was well-positioned to leverage ITOM to launch the next phase of the company’s transformation. This entailed consolidating AIA’s various cloud, automation and analytics service providers into a single, cohesive, easy-to-use workflow connected to AIA’s lines of business.

“From an overall digitalisation perspective, we need to look at how service management tools factor into the enterprise”, he says. “They’ve played a critical role in getting the employee to feel like a customer with ServiceNow the primary window through which employees access those tools”.

Ensuring that employees feel engaged in the transformation effort is key to the broader success of AIA’s digitalisation initiatives, both internal and external-facing. “We have seen tremendous support from the business in adopting and driving the change”, Malan says. This sets the company up for further acceleration of the progress that will carry it into its next 100 years.

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AIA Group Ltd
AIA Group Ltd
Hong Kong
Financial Services

With ServiceNow, our service management tools have played a critical role in getting the employee to feel like a customer.

Marcel Malan

Head of Group IT Operations and General Manager

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