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How Manulife Reinvented Its IT

Toronto Tech

What looks looks like an Apple Store, but only employees at Manulife get to use? In recent months, the financial services giant has opened a trio of tech lounges, first at its Toronto HQ, then Waterloo, and just a few days ago at the John Hancock building in Boston, which it owns. Rather than chase an elusive IT person, Manulife staff now can drop by the tech lounges. And they can check out gadgets like BlackBerrys, iPads and laptops. VP Jacques Ouimet (snapped at the opening of the Boston lounge with John Hancock president Craig Bromley) tells us the spaces are equipped with the same tech as rooms upstairs, "so employees can come down to get training, go back upstairs and use it.”


Tech departments are good at pushing tech, but not necessarily as concerned with how well users are dealing with it. “We realized there was a gap there,” Jacques says. He acknowledges Manulife didn’t invent the tech lounge concept; the company's spaces are modelled after the Apple Store and its Genius Bar. “We figured if that kind of support works in the retail model, maybe it will work in the corporate model.”