Brokerage services provider Aon Corp. found help in streamlining its network operations throughout its global reach into 120 countries, reports Greg Masters.

Around five years ago, David Cambria observed one office within Aon Corp. supplying information in an Excel spreadsheet while another used Word. This made compiling companywide reports a significant challenge and limited visibility across the enterprise. The disparity in tools used also presented security challenges when legal matters reached a sensitive stage. Settlement information, for example, must be kept confidential and accessible to a limited number of professionals. Because the various systems employed didn't provide the necessary levels of access control, settlement documents had to be managed separately by the select lawyers and business unit managers with required access.

This was occuring just as Aon Corp. was expanding its global legal staff to more than 100 attorneys and an equal number of support staff to meet an ever-changing and complex regulatory environment. With its headquarters in Chicago, the provider of consulting, outsourcing and insurance brokerage services, needed to streamline the corporate systems connecting its 37,000 professionals worldwide located in 500 offices in 120 countries.

The problem was that each of Aon's legal offices was using different systems to manage processes. The company had developed a Lotus Notes-based application to manage legal matters, but many within the enterprise thought it was limited, and different offices began adopting their own formats.

As the company grew, this system became increasingly inefficient. Aon needed a single platform that could manage all aspects of legal matters and would be accessible by any of the company's global legal staff, as well as outside counsel law firms and business unit managers – but still with the necessary controls in place to limit information exposure and protect confidentiality.

Secured information-sharing is core to Aon's risk management and reinsurance business, says Cambria, director of operations in the law department at Aon. “A centralized database of secured information is vital to ensuring consistency and confidentiality among so many locations, individual departments and outside counsel law firms,” he says.