Morneau Shepell: delivering long-term value to OTIP
Morneau Shepell is a leading provider of technology-enabled HR services that provide an integrated approach to employee wellbeing through a cloud-based platform. Its core focus is to provide everything their clients need to support the mental, physical, social and financial wellbeing of their people.
Paul Sywulych is the Vice President of Digital Innovation at Morneau Shepell. He has been with the company for over 26 years in a variety of different roles. In his current position, he leads a number of key enterprise initiatives to leverage AI, machine learning and advanced technologies to improve the lives of employees and to help organisations maximise the value of their human capital.
Since 2014, Morneau Shepell has partnered with Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan (OTIP) and overseen OTIP’s growth from 20,000 members to more than 230,000. “We provide an array of solutions around health and pension administration,” explains Sywulych. “This ranges from outsource solutions for large organisations across North America to system only solutions that we provide to OTIP. As we make incremental improvements to the technology platform that supports OTIP, they automatically get the benefits of our investment because it helps us and them too.”
Sywulych points to the importance of delivering long-term and sustainable value to partnerships such as OTIP, and recognises the benefits this has. “OTIP has been a great partner for us and is one of our largest health administration clients in Canada. They knew they needed a strong administrative platform to accelerate their growth because of the speed of adoption of a standardised benefits plan across Ontario for teachers,” he explains. “One of the most interesting things from working with OTIP is that they really opened their doors to us. They welcomed us to spend time with them and we had our people hands-on during an 18 month implementation.” Sywulych believes offering that continued support is the key to success. “I believe that if you don’t help people run the software correctly and offer that ongoing support then it all falls apart so it’s vital you’re there,” he says. “We don’t just take a ‘set it and forget it’ approach. We continue to evolve the software platform because we do so for not just one client but for many. We’re doing incremental enhancements to the software to support technology trends and how things are changing.”
Looking to the future of the partnership, Sywulych believes observing the latest trends in the industry and operating with an agile and lean approach is essential to success over the next few years. “Our goal from a UX perspective is to make our customers’ interactions with software straightforward and try and reduce some of the things that they need to do so they can focus more on the areas of value add,” he explains. “In the near future, we’re looking at what’s the next thing that will drive the most value for our clients and we’re focused primarily around three key pillars: consumer grade experiences, the way in which we leverage AI, and augmenting additional things that matter to people. At Morneau Shepell, we’re also investing in initiatives such as voluntary benefits that extend the value proposition that employers can offer to their people.”
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”