Monday, October 1, 2007

Desjardins General Insurance site launch

Over the years, I have participated in many web projects, smaller campaigns up to full ecosystem revamp. Today is the official launch of my employer's revamped web ecosystem: Desjardins General (or Desjardins Assurances Générales in French).

On the surface, it's a new design, new content, renewed branding and a much more pleasing user experience.

Under the hood, it's Microsoft Sharepoint Server 2007 (MOSS) using Content Management System, custom authentication and optimized HTML /CSS rendering of pages... and lots of little tweaks and hacks. Being "early adopters" of a new technology or a new version of a solution is always risky, and of course, we ran into our share of problems. But at the same time, MOSS elevated us to a level where a huge amount of work was saved and the technological platform is in a very good shape to push the envelope. In this project like any other, there is rarely a "best" solution, there is always what appears to be the most promising scenario under the circumstances!

From the organizational perspective, it's a big project involving dozens of people over nearly a year. Financial services and insurance are usually quite conservative organizations, so this is a welcomed shift toward ebusiness and a much better leverage of the Web. And it's not over yet!

As a senior ebusiness adviser/architect, I was much more involved in the early stages of the project: addressing the business requirements and turning them into realistic and feasable solutions. While I used to be deeply involved in project development, this time I had to watch the project evolve from a distance and stay at a 40,000ft view. Still, there's always a warm feeling when seeing the baby's face for the first time! (ok, a bit stretched in my comparison, I have two kids and it's not quite the same... but you see what I mean!)