Interview: Aviva, DevOps Excellence Awards finalist

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Uma Thirugnanam, Test Automation Architect, Aviva
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Uma Thirugnanam, Test Automation Architect, Aviva

"Innovation is a habit at Aviva and at the core of everything we do"

Casting a light on outstanding achievements, the DevOps Excellence Awards honour the organisations, personalities and solutions operating within the DevOps space - and after two years of hosting them virtually, we are delighted to welcome all of the finalists to a live awards ceremony on Wednesday 23rd March in London.

One of those finalists is Aviva, who is in the running for Best Automation Project.

 We caught up with Uma Thirugnanam, test automation architect at Aviva, to find out what really makes Aviva shine.

Computing: What is Aviva all about?

 Uma Thirugnanam: We are the UK's leading savings, retirement, investments and insurance business, with 18.5 million customers across our core markets of the UK, Ireland and Canada. Our purpose is to be 'With You Today, For A Better Tomorrow'. Aviva exists to be with the customers when it really matters.

Aviva's Sustainability Ambition sets out our commitment to create a brighter future. This is focused on three core areas: acting on climate change, building a stronger, more resilient Britain and running ourselves as a sustainable business.

CTG: What makes you different from other technology companies?

UT: Aviva is moulding itself into a FinTech company by fostering innovation and ideation within the organisation at all levels. We are partnering with leading accelerator firms in a bid to drive the pace and quality of innovation, and uplift the value and experience for our customers. Innovation is a habit at Aviva and at the core of everything we do. By giving its employees the space and freedom to ideate without the traditional boundaries of funding and timescales, Aviva stands out compared to other firms in this business.

The innovation agenda at Aviva is a key part of how we will execute our strategy and better support customer needs, and is an important step towards our ambition of becoming the UK's leading insurer.

CTG: What was your proudest company achievement in the last 12 months?

UT: I'm really proud of Aviva's commitments on environmental sustainability and to be NetZero by 2030. As a company we have led the way in reducing our carbon footprint across a number of areas, including IT. To prevent the most catastrophic climatic impacts it needs bold actions and real leadership. We have set ambitious plans to reduce emissions associated within our IT estate with strong commitment from the whole team. This is our #NetZero Goal and is the most demanding goal set by any major insurance company in the world to date.

CTG: What are you working on this year?

UT: 2022 for Aviva is about digital transformation and simplification. Our CEO, Amanda Blanc, has recently reinforced Aviva's commitment on this front. Simplifying the way we do business, so that it becomes easy for the customer to transact with us and enabling us to be a digital leader in the insurance market, is what we are doing this year.

Alongside that, sustainability remains a key focus as well, with a number of technology initiatives to fight climate change.

Interestingly, we are also working with a number of colleges and universities to provide a platform for young minds to step into technology.

On the personal front, as part of digitisation programme, I will be working on a data migration project to effectively bring automation around data governance and retention. This will allow Aviva a competitive edge around improved service management as well as related cost transformation.

CTG: Why are events like the DevOps Excellence Awards important to the IT industry?

UT: I think events like these are incredibly important because they bring about the innovation and successful experience of our everyday business. The DevOps Awards is a celebration of the innovation culture within the technology industry. A chance to showcase and network around transformational ideas, it is a competitive zone to test ourselves against the best in the industry. The networking aspect is quite important as it is a motivation to meet like-minded people, share ideas, form new relationships, and continue to drive personal improvements.

The DevOps Excellence Awards will take place on the 23rd March 2022 at The Montcalm, Marble Arch. Finalists can click here to book a table.

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