Co-operators meets local needs using Oracle Cloud
Founded by farmers, the co-op gained new tools to meet changing regulations and support new financial services.
“The implementation was a very complex piece of work. Fortunately, Oracle Consulting had these brilliant, dedicated people to help us get over any hurdles.”
Founded in 1945 by farmers whose needs weren’t being met by traditional insurance providers, and who needed coverage after losing nearly everything in the Great Depression, Co-operators strives to balance profits and community.
Today, the business includes smaller insurance co-ops and credit unions across Canada. It insures more than 5.2 million members, more than 890,000 homes, 41,000 farms, and 265,000 businesses, ranking in the top 10 of Canadian insurance companies.
Over time, all that growth resulted in a tangle of financial systems, with each piece managed separately and run with on-premises servers—and even mainframes. Some of the applications were hitting end of life, including Oracle E-Business Suite and an SAP planning and budgeting system. There was a separate tax application, and a proprietary financial system on a mainframe that was slated to be decommissioned.
Why Co-operators chose Oracle
Co-operators chose Oracle Cloud applications to upgrade its software and manage the implementation.
In choosing Oracle Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Co-operators was able to build on the investment in Oracle E-Business Suite. “Oracle Cloud ERP offered the power and flexibility we needed going forward,” says Hrag Kakousian, vice president, finance, financial accounting services. “It met our mantra of ‘the power of one’—one platform to improve efficiencies and deliver the support we needed.” For planning and budgeting, his team chose Oracle Cloud Enterprise Performance Management (EPM).
Upon finishing the project, Co-operators gained a single platform that reduced costs and streamlined support. The back office integrates more easily with the front office and can better support customer-facing innovations, for example, supplementing traditional insurance and investment product offerings with new advice-based services.
A prime example is wealth management, a recently launched service delivered with a twist: Instead of focusing on the wealthy, Co-operators offers advice for “everyday Canadians” and makes it accessible by having no account minimum.
Besides streamlining operations, moving to a single platform gave Co-operators the stability to tackle a major job: meeting new rules from the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which among other things governs how financial firms account for insurance contracts. Kakousian says it represents “a significant change” in accounting policies and procedures for the business.
Oracle Consulting brought in experts whose focus on customer outcomes matched their product knowledge—and who forged close ties to the in-house IT team. “These massive projects always have some bumps in the road, but it’s how you overcome them together that makes the difference,” he says. “We had a great working relationship.”
Once Co-operators chose Oracle Cloud for its financial platform, it made sense to use Oracle Consulting Services for the implementation. “We knew Oracle Consulting would have the product expertise we wanted, and after checking references such as Gartner, we felt the team could also handle the transformation work,” says Hrag Kakousian.