How could Aon ensure reliable, leading edge network performance from Kerikeri to Invercargill, regardless of outdated connectivity infrastructure in some towns?


Aon upgraded to Cloud Managed Network with VMware Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN).


Aon now enjoy consistent, modern connectivity irrespective of location with performance gains they describe as game-changing.


Aon transforms network performance

Aon is New Zealand’s leading insurance broker. Aon has passionate people that deliver leading-edge insurance solutions at almost seventy branches from Kerikeri to Invercargill, all committed to a high degree of customer service. The leading insurance broker has recently undergone a multi-faceted digital transformation with Spark’s Cloud Managed Network.

Before a recent upgrade to SD-WAN, Aon’s commitment to customer service could be challenging when it came to connectivity. Aon wants clients and colleagues to have consistent, modern connectivity, mobility and reliability – irrespective of location. Delivering responsive customer service is easier said than done in smaller or rural locations. In these locations it’s difficult to get high speed network performance without expensive private fibre connections.

"Calls would drop out, audio would sometimes turn alien and it’d take 25 seconds to open a one page PDF. The more of us online, the worse the problems became. You’d literally have to wait for your colleague to put the phone down to access your files." Regional IT Director Jonathan Cook recalls.

Setting the technology vision at Aon is the domain of Jonathan Cook, Regional IT Director – Pacific. He said, "Information technology is there to help us be more agile and to free up our people to have more time with clients. Our latest network upgrade with Spark and VMware is the culmination of a multi-year, multi-faceted technology transformation project, in which a host of leading-edge technologies have come together to enable a better client and colleague experience."

Higher quality and reliability

Aon Gore was a typical branch office that ran a SIP strategy: voice calling that travels over the same connection as data. Gore would experience strange issues with voice and accessibility with their SIP.

”We can now video conference, voice call and access our applications online; simultaneously. Voice and video quality is superb. It’s worlds apart from where we were, and we’re all benefiting from this enhanced performance”, adds James Blaze, Aon Infrastructure Lead for New Zealand. 

Blaze says the APAC service centre has noticed the improvement, too. “Now that we have this smart technology in place to handle and route data with Spark’s Cloud Managed Network, voice quality will never be an issue. While it’s early days – our support team have noticed a dramatic decrease in the number of tickets generated. It’s saving us a huge amount of trouble-shooting time."

Flexibility and control

Spark Cloud Managed Network is as flexible as it is reliable. Aon can adopt new technologies as they emerge quickly and easily. As 5G rolls out around the country, uptake can be immediate. It’s also a lot faster to stand up a new office, which the Aon team do regularly up and down New Zealand.

Application performance gains

No digital stone has been left unturned during Aon’s IT transformation journey. From modernising applications, to the streamlining of application stacks, and from technologies that enable paperless communication to greater mobility in the field and flexible working options –network performance has been pivotal to every facet.

Thanks to heightened performance Aon brokers in the field can now get real-time access to their CRM and applications. They can deliver instant insights to the customer (such as an onsite insurance premium calculation) without concern for latency – even when some of those applications are run out of Australia. The 100Mb file transfer that took almost 7 minutes before – now takes 16 seconds. The one-page PDF that took 25 seconds to download – now downloads in less than two.

Network optimisation and resilience

The software-defined nature of this VMware SD-WAN solution results in network optimisation and resiliency. Aon has the flexibility to plumb in up to four diverse internet connections into a router – 4G, 5G, copper, fibre and the solution will constantly monitor the best way to get data from A to B. If one connection falls over – it won’t impact performance. It will use a variety of techniques, to improve packet delivery and traffic control, in turn allowing network bandwidth to grow or shrink dynamically as needed and maximise uptime. In other words – it’s smart.

At the technological forefront

“We love that we can break new ground together with Spark and confidently stay at the pinnacle of digital transformation. It’s even better that this innovation comes as an end-to-end managed service - as this alleviates my team of the nitty-gritty stuff. We can get on with business, knowing ‘it just works’ reliably,” Blaze states.

Adds Cook “Spark ensure we can deliver our diverse value-added services and achieve our vision of a unique client and colleague experience – all backed by fantastic network performance, security and scalability."