"Aviva exists to be with the customers when it really matters."
Information Technology has grown in prominence over the last decade. No longer seen as a cost centre, it's now widely accepted that people can use IT to improve their creativity, productivity and knowledge.
The UK IT Industry Awards are the largest and most well-known event in the technology industry calendar. Owned and operated by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and Computing, the awards enjoy a level of professionalism and industry knowledge not seen at other shows.
This year's winners were announced at a live awards ceremony on Wednesday, 9th November.
One of the finalists was Aviva, in the running for Infrastructure Innovation of the Year.
Before the awards, we caught up with Gemma Bernal, Head of Digital Engineering at Aviva to find out what makes her company different from other technology firms.
Bernal has over 15 years' experience in IT and change management positions, working across global markets and UK functions in a variety of challenging and transformational opportunities.
She is currently the Head of Digital Engineering at Aviva and is passionate about digital, Aviva's customers and tech. She is accountable for the company's customer facing application, integration and security gateway estate.
She believes in creating the right culture and environment to support Aviva's teams and strives to continuously improving the customer journeys - constantly adapting, innovating and evolving to get the best results for the teams, business and customers.
Computing: Please provide some background on your company for our readers.
Gemma Bernal: Aviva is the UK's leading savings, retirement, investments, and insurance business with about 18.5 million customers across our core markets of the UK, Ireland and Canada. Our businesses are of high quality, with strong positions across all of our segments. Our purpose is to be 'With You Today, For A Better Tomorrow'.
Aviva exists to be with the customers when it really matters. Aviva's Sustainability Ambition sets out our commitment to create a brighter future. This is focused on three core areas - acting on climate change, building a stronger, more resilient Britain, and running ourselves as a sustainable business.
What makes you different from other technology-related companies?
Aviva is passionate about becoming a truly customer-centric company, supporting innovation enabling us to digitise and automate more customer journeys and meet the ever-changing needs for our customers. Working with key partners to drive our ambitions to become a leading FinTech organisation. We provide an environment for our people to collaborate and achieve our company goals and values and this is why Aviva stands out compared to other firms in this business.
What one company achievement in the last 12 months are you most proud of?
That Aviva is recognising the importance and need to fully digitise to support our customers. There is a huge drive to become a truly customer-centric organisation with focus and commitment at all levels of the company. I'm proud to say over the last 12 months we have put the customer at the forefront of our decisions which has enabled us to make another big leap on our journey. We are really starting to listen to what our customers are saying and focus on what's important for them without profitability being our main driver.
What are you working on this year?
The strategic priorities are customer, efficiency, sustainability and growth. To drive these priorities, we have undertaken various digital transformation and simplification initiatives across the organisation. Our CEO, Amanda Blanc, has recently reinforced Aviva's commitment on this front. Simplifying the way, we do business and being a customer-centric organisation. This in turn makes it easy for the customer to transact with us and enabling us to be a digital leader in the insurance market. We want our customers to think of us first when they have any financial need. The key initiatives are:
- Customer and marketing transformation
- Digitisation and automation of customer journeys
- Adoption of modern technologies and engineering practices
Why are events like the UK IT Industry Awards important to the IT industry?
It is a celebration and recognition of the innovation culture within the technology industry. A chance to showcase excellence across the industry, share ideas and ways of working to enhance our thinking. These events are development opportunities / moral boosters for everyone involved from senior leaders to the engineers cutting the code. It is a platform to showcase the outstanding achievements across different organisations and help us recognise and celebrate each other collaboratively.
It's also a chance to recognise any one company isn't an island and partnerships is vital to drive forward any organisation, Aviva in partnership with TCS has demonstrated how we can make a difference and we both will be celebrating what we have achieved this year.