It's solid. It's established. It's "the rock." And despite a 125-year history and $371 billion in assets that could have slowed it down, Prudential Insurance Co. of America has defied inertia and rapidly transformed itself into a 21st century operation determined to hold its own in the high-speed New Economy. Two recent strategic IT initiatives have contributed significantly to Prudential's transformation. They stand out not only for their scope, but also for the speed with which they've been implemented.Namely, the rollout of the $130 million LaunchPad laptop program, which was initiated three years ago to equip Prudential's entire field force of 12,000 with IBM ThinkPad notebook computers, has been recognized as a phenomenal achievement. "That's just mind-boggling-to roll out thousands of PCs on a very concerted basis," says John McFadden, chief technology officer of Loyola College in Timonium, Md.

McFadden also cites the founding of Prumerica Systems Ireland, Prudential's new technology subsidiary, as an example of the outstanding IT leadership of Prudential's CIO William Friel, whom the college's Lattanze Center for Executive Studies in Information Technology selected as its 2001 IT Executive of the Year. Prudential formed the technology subsidiary almost a year ago to develop loyal, in-house IT talent and reduce the company's reliance on outside contractors.

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