Technical Analyst Talk: Jesse, Bill, Julie, Mary Jo, and Asad.

JULIE: Considering all the experiences that you have, do you really feel that you have the opportunity to make your mark in a place that is so big?

MARY JO: I work with technical analysts, a unit of a little less than 20 and different technologies. So we have some folks that work with servers, we have some folks that work with software and automation. And actually, I partner with them on what they want their future to be.

And help them look at how big that Systems Department is and find some new opportunities. And then if they need to do any different re-skilling, partner on that and help them move forward.

JULIE: So do you feel like you’re making an impact when you have an opportunity to do that?

MARY JO: I definitely feel like I’m making an impact and when I spent some time as a technical analyst, I felt the same way at that point. I had an opportunity to work on our process side, which is a direct impact to the availability that we have to provide for our policyholders and for our bank customers.

BILL: Today I spend a lot of my time working on unified communication applications, things that are bringing voice, video, and data onto the same medium. It’s really cool, because it’s all brand new stuff coming out, and trying things that work and then trying to make it fit into the State Farm Enterprise is challenging, but it’s a lot of fun at the same time.

ASAD: So I’m currently what we call here, a team leader. So my first priority is to make sure my team of 15, that they actually have enough to work on, enough to do – the work is spread evenly between all 15 of them – making sure assignments are moving properly.

I also get my own assignments where I get to work on projects, I get to work on service. We get some special assignments from management that we take care of on a daily basis. My area actually impacts the connection for all State Farm agents and State Farm employees to the Internet. We take care of securing wireless connections for all of State Farm. We actually manage the connections we have between State Farm and all the vendors that we work with. So our impact on the Company is really seen on a daily basis.

JESSE: I work on a team called business applications security team and what we do is design applications security for all of the major business areas within State Farm. So we’re talking about our agents, we’re talking about claims systems, how we interact with our customers, making sure that that information, our bank, all that data is secured while still helping our business partners to be able to service our customers.

That’s a pretty cool responsibility when you think about it because right there alone you get an impact to the organization. But I mean I’ve got opportunities beyond that too. I’m working on Enterprise-related issues right now regarding account accesses and leave of absence policies that affect how people access their accounts. And I’m getting to work with a bunch of different teams across the board. So this really is a unique experience to be able to take that aspect from an application standpoint and make it even broader into an Enterprise standpoint.

JULIE: When you have an idea that falls outside those responsibilities, do you feel that that idea is listened to and heard and potentially acted upon?

BILL: Yeah I think so. I don’t think I ever feel like I’m not listened to, but I don’t always get my way either and I should.

ASAD: I’m in a position where I get a lot of ideas from the team. I need to listen to what they need and what they want to make their job easier. But also I’m in a unique opportunity where I get a lot of access to management where I can relay what the team is looking for or needing. And I have never really felt that our ideas were not really listened to. A lot of time they get to be acted upon too, it’s just whenever it makes sense.

MARY JO: Yeah and that’s a good point, whenever it makes sense. I have had some ideas and presented them and recognized that it just wasn’t quite the right time and some time passed, lo and behold, we made some changes.

JESSE: That’s what the cool thing about it was, you were able to have the conversation and it wasn’t something that was just shuffled off and never to be thought of again. So we’ve got a heavy focus on innovation, and the fact that people are bringing in fresh ideas, I think is something that this department really needs to take forward because it’s helping our organization continue to mature and service our customers. So the fact that we’re able to do that and be able to have those impacts, whether it’s immediate or not, but down the road, that’s neat.