The Grill: Aon's CIO embraces social media tools to connect 65,000 employees

A people-finder app helps employees find others with the right skills

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As global CIO at Aon PLC, Steve Betts has taken on some big IT initiatives. His team helped develop and deploy the company's Global Risk Insight Platform, which is used to mine data from nearly $100 billion in insurance premiums. IT also helped develop Aon's health exchange offerings, which allow clients' employees to choose their healthcare plans. Betts also led the integration of IT operations following Aon's $4.9 billion acquisition of human resources consultancy Hewitt Associates. Here, Betts shares insights he has gained during his three years in the global CIO role at London-based Aon, a global risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage and provider of HR services.

You've said "the world is drowning in data" and "making sense of it is the real challenge." What role does your IT operation play in that? Making actionable, value-creating insight is really what the challenge is, and IT plays a big part in it. It's really about creating the right environment and putting the right parties together to get to that value-creating insight. So it's a partnership with my business colleagues and with the analytics specialists. We've established the Aon Center for Innovation and Analytics in Dublin, where we have a focused team of data analytics experts. They partner with folks from my team both in terms of gathering data and sensitizing it in a set of tools and an external-facing dashboard that our clients and the insurance carriers leverage.

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