Hartford Life, a division of The Hartford Financial Services Group (Hartford; $26.5 billion in 2006 revenues), traditionally has functioned with a high degree of autonomy -- not with respect to The Hartford as a whole, but within the organizational units of the life company itself and with regard to those units' IT assets. Whatever the benefits of that approach have been, the company now can benefit from greater technology unity, according to new Hartford Life CIO Brian O'Connell. "It's not a complete swing of the pendulum but trying to find a balance point-- to integrate and share on the points that make sense but provide the businesses the flexibility to address where they are in their life cycle," O'Connell comments.
The former Accenture executive says his role in that respect will be to help define and prioritize technology initiatives across the enterprise. "We need to evaluate and integrate our technology processes across the life company," O'Connell says. "We need to look at our governance, methodology, tools and overall IT management processes to see where we can get scale or provide capabilities to one of our businesses that may not be able to afford that on its own."
Among the initiatives embraced by Hartford Life's move to greater IT integration are policy administration platform replacements and upgrades across several of the carrier's life insurance businesses, according to O'Connell. The new CIO adds that he also will work toward improving and consolidating outsourcing relationships, and collaborating with The Hartford's P&C company on a cross-selling initiative.
O'Connell, who was the lead Accenture partner on an initiative to transform the customer services operations of the carrier's annuity business, says that as CIO he will look to drive greater efficiency there while carrying forward its industry-leading grid computing initiative. However, his big-picture view of his job focuses on bringing greater technological unity across the company. Today, each business within Hartford Life has its own technology strategy, according to O'Connell. His objective, he explains, will be to help establish "our overall technology strategy from an infrastructure/architecture perspective."
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