Axa’s Approach to Digital Agility

An advantage enjoyed by Axa Luxembourg, which employs only 300 people for both internal and customer-facing activities, is its speed and agility. However flexible a company’s people can be, the agility of their technology is equally as impactful. This is why it is so critical to achieving digital transformation success. Olivier Vansteelandt, the CIO of Axa Wealth and Axa Luxembourg, recently attended a summit where he described his pain points and observations of current digital transformation trends that lead to the development of Axa’s current strategy.

For any growing business, digital transformation is a constantly evolving process. New applications, functions, and systems are constantly added or changed and lead to constant development. This development, according to statements by Vansteelandt, was beginning to impede progress in other areas of the business and required a complete renovation of the company’s approach to its IT functions.

Previously, Axa used business lines that each had individual scopes of work, products, and technological infrastructure which supported it all. The systems employed by the company used a method of integration known as Point-to-Point integration or P2P. Connecting systems and applications in this way are costly and time-consuming but can be functional and stable over long periods of time. The problem comes in when a business begins to grow and change as the agile team of workers responds to the circumstances or trends in their market.

P2P integrations can be thought of as purpose-built connections between two systems. These are built to integrate two applications as they exist at that time. This means that as applications or use-cases change, these integrations need to be updated and re-tested. As new applications, systems and functions are added digital transformation success dictates that entirely new integrations need to be built from scratch and existing integrations must be retested to ensure there are no adverse interactions. Alternatively, Application Programming Interface, or API, style integrations allow systems and applications to communicate using a single, unified and modular method of requesting and providing information that behaves in a consistent, predictable way.

Digital transformation trends like this one allow businesses like Axa to quickly add functionality to their APIs and provide a standardized interface for new and existing systems without requiring constant testing of other connected systems. This simplified approach means fewer developers are needed to maintain integrations. More importantly, Axa’s technology can just be as agile as its people.

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