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AXA Agent Front-End Launch

Webstation application gives financial advisors fingertip access to comprehensive sales-related information and functionality.

AXA Financial has capped a $23 million, two-year workstation transformation initiative with the release of Webstation, a client management system designed to increase revenue generation opportunities and improve productivity for the company's field force. The new Web-based front-end application provides financial advisors with in-depth client relationship information, teaming capabilities for cross selling and advanced query and data mining functionality.

Webstation, which began its national rollout last November, allows AXA's (New York, $480.9 billion in assets) financial advisor field force to connect via single sign-on to a comprehensive suite of tools through the carrier's corporate portal, AXAonline. Having logged on, advisors arrive at a "Today" screen, which cues up their calendar and to-do list, along with a variety of other essential information streams, including new business transactions and requirements, Web e-mail, customer suitability reviews, national and regional communications and compensation information and calculators.

"From both a technology and business point of view, this is leading-edge," asserts Mark Wutt, senior vice president and leader of AXA's Technology Solutions Group, which spearheaded the project from the business side. "Webstation is the portal we dreamed it could be for our sales force."

Siebel Systems (San Mateo, Calif.) client relationship management and sales force automation applications form the centerpiece of Webstation, giving advisors access to a single repository of contact, product, activity and opportunity information, with advanced query reporting and correspondence activities, according to AXA. Using Webstation's tools, advisers can profile and rank existing clients, receive updated client and product information nightly, group clients and prospects into households and take advantage of a letter library repository, correspondence/mail-merge functionality and integrated e-mail capabilities.

The design of the application relied on intensive interaction with a representative group of about 250 sales associates and an ad hoc technology field advisory council. "It was a select group including both technophiles and technophobes making up a cross section of our associates," says Wutt.

Back-office technology work involved "all aspects of IT," including application development, technical architecture, data architecture, infrastructure, project management and the company's IT financial management function, according to Miron Galper, senior vice president, IT, and chief application development officer for Webstation. "The biggest challenge was gathering the agent, client and product data and transforming it into valuable information," Galper says.

Webstation was piloted from July to October last year, and since going live in November has been rolled out to about 450 users. Rollout to a target population of about 5,500 sales associates (out of a total of roughly 7,000) is planned for completion by next November. "We delivered this on-time and slightly under budget at a time when there was tremendous scrutiny on every dollar spent." says Bill Levine, AXA Financial's CIO.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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