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Tech Fair Boosts Interaction

By creating a forum for showcasing IT achievements, AXA Financial improves morale and collaboration.

Designed as a means for growing morale and fostering business and IT interaction, the 2003 Technology Fair, themed "Shaping Our IT Investments in a Changing World," was sponsored last month by AXA Financial (New York). As part of the event, which featured informational sessions and technology demonstrations, both business and IT representatives were on hand to showcase technology initiatives that they had developed collaboratively. "If you want to have a great company, people have to feel good about it and what it offers," says David Wollin, managing director, emerging technology, AXA Financial. "By allowing employees to showcase achievements, they can be recognized. That is a key part of motivation."

AXA's Suitability Review system was one of the technologies highlighted during the three-day event in New York City. The system was developed through close iterative IT and business cooperation, relates Joe Romanelli, who represents the business side as a vice president in the technology solutions group. "Our business group didn't just throw requirements over the wall to the IT group and get back results weeks later," contends Romanelli. Instead, members of AXA's business and IT communities were "in constant communication, and both business and IT members highlighted details that might have been missed."

Business drivers of the Web-based application-designed to assist field supervisors in their evaluations of the suitability of variable life and annuity product sales, explains Romanelli-included a need to strengthen the client/advisor relationship and ensure customers' confidence that the product sold to them is suitable to their financial objectives.

On May 15, 2003 the system-which helped AXA realize efficiencies because it eliminates manual reviews-was rolled out. Suitability Review system is mostly Oracle- (Redwood Shores, CA) and Java-based, explains Nigel Hill, who is a director in applications services, AXA. He adds that the system utilizes a business rules application, which enables business members to change rules without the intervention of IT personnel.

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