In an era of financial services consolidation, Prudential's Barbara Koster is laying the foundation for an enterprise-wide view of customer information.Barbara Koster faced a formidable challenge soon after she became CIO for Prudential Individual Financial Services in 1997. Kostner was put in charge of a program to bring field sales automation to the company's 12,000 agents and field managers.

Throughout Prudential's 123-year history, agents had used traditional face-to-face sales processes and had shown resistance to the company's previous attempts to automate their sales and communication efforts. Three years and $103 million later, the LaunchPad program has put laptops in the hands of Prudential's geographically dispersed sales force and has revolutionized the way these agents conduct business (see "Laptops Help Agents Who Are On The Run," May).

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