InfoWorld CTO 25: Jim Lester

Senior vice president and CTO, Aflac

At insurance giant Aflac, CIO Jim Lester took on the challenge of re-engineering a host of batch systems using Java to wrap key portions of the company’s legacy code. As a result, the Fortune 200 company now presents, sells, and underwrites policies online in real time, placing it way ahead of much the pack. Lester’s staff worked on an IBM mainframe to re-engineer old code, a strategy that saved millions of dollars that would have otherwise been spent on buying new systems. Agents now enjoy instant feedback on the issuance of insurance applications through the company’s internal portal. “We are looking for other areas of legacy code. It will take about six years to finish the project,” Lester says. “When we’re done, we will have reprogrammed legacy code for a lot less money and less risk than replacing it with new systems.”

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