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Gerry Pennell Modernizes Technology at Co-operative

Drawing on his integration and change management expertise, CIO Gerry Pennell has helped modernize Co-operative Financial Services' technology environment.

Concurrently, Pennell's team has undertaken a massive modernization effort. "We are currently running with more than 50 significant development projects to support the change," he relates, adding that his team has invested extensively in its channel infrastructure to support online operations. That channel infrastructure is largely based on midrange Unix solutions, Pennell says.

On the insurance side of the business, Co-operative Financial's director of strategic change, Jon Taylor, and his team have been instrumental in delivering the modernization effort, according to Pennell. With an assist from Accenture's insurance practice in London, Taylor recently implemented a new SAP (Walldorf, Germany) claims system 12 months ahead of schedule -- resulting in an improved operating model and reduced claims costs, Pennell notes.

Another key initiative, Pennell says, is the company's Enterprise Platform project. "This includes replatforming the bank as well as implementing new technology for our call center channels, with an improved single view of customers available to our customer-facing staff," he explains. "This project will not only improve customer service, but also enhance competitiveness by making it easier for us to launch new products quickly."

Historically, Co-operative Financial needed 90 days to change rates in its general insurance area, Pennell notes. Under the new platform, those rate changes can be made in real time, he says. "The market is increasingly competitive on price, and advancing technology is enhancing service to customers," Pennell comments. "My role is to ensure that IT supports the business to stay ahead of competitors on these fronts while delivering on our core values of fairness, value for money and social responsibility."

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