The insurance industry, as a heavily regulated and complex field, has proven to be particularly resistant to change. Additionally, offline distribution and outdated IT systems have prevented new projects from being tested and iterated internally. AXA is trying to address this lacklustre IT infrastructure with a new project management technique called Fast IT wherein AXA’s IT technology team responds to business requirements with incremental and frequent changes in a speed as fast as every two to three hours, replacing the traditional waterfall model. The practice is still emerging, however, the group aims to deliver 50% of its IT services via Fast IT by 2020.
This new approach to infrastructure development and deployment has been supported by Yann Bry, Axa Asia’s CIO. “There is a big drive at AXA Asia to become more flexible, for the business and to respond faster to customers.”
Although AXA Group started to diffuse this practice internally almost two years ago, the key pillars including modulising development and leveraging cloud based deployments are only now beginning to bear fruit. Over the past eight months, AXA is delivering 5-10% of the digital front-end services through this Fast IT initiative.
As IT teams design and implement new platforms and infrastructure to compete online, the need to move fast and iterate functions like distribution, marketing and sales, embracing a Fast IT culture within AXA will certainly help make them ready for the future.