AXA road leads to Roma

A look at how a leading insurer approached customer relationship management (CRM) shows just how varied approaches can be. New York-based AXA Financial, formerly known as The Equitable Companies, chose Candle Corp.'s Roma Business Service Platform (BSP), a middleware solution, as the means to this end.

"We were Equitable, and now as AXA we have had a real focus on making customer service a differentiator," said Don Buskard, senior vice president at AXA. "We recognized early on that there was a lot of value in our legacy systems and that middleware was a good way to extract COBOL, CICS and DB2 data." An AXA goal is to reposition today's focus in life insurance and annuities to become a single point of integrated service for financial products and consulting.

In effect, AXA will use the Roma solution to build a portal connecting a CRM app with its back-office systems. The front-room app runs in AXA's call center in support of agents and customers. Buskard echoes comments of other practitioners when he says you have to have data in order to get started on relationship management. "There are a number of parts that can be installed to improve CRM," said Buskard. "The first focus we took was on assets we had in place -- the legacy systems that had a good amount of data."

Buskard noted that his company had separate data warehouse initiatives underway as well. "On the customer service side, we're forging ahead. Our main focus now is to paint the picture [of the customer] in real time. We will add value multidimensionally as we go along," he noted

-- Jack Vaughan

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.