The Hartford Financial Services Group, an insurance and financial services company, has signed a new five-year technology services agreement with IBM, to simplify and transform its technology infrastructure.

Under this agreement signed in January 2011, IBM will continue to manage The Hartford’s data center operations and create a more efficient IT platform by virtualizing its server network at IBM’s Colorado facility and The Hartford’s own center in Hartford, Connecticut.

The Hartford will transition its virtual desktop environment to IBM’s Smart Business Desktop Cloud solution.

IBM said that the transition will provide a centralized, virtual desktop cloud for The Hartford’s employees, improving performance and offering anytime, anywhere access to the their internal network of email, applications and more.

In addition, IBM will install a zEnterprise System at The Hartford, to support the development and accessibility of key business applications for their global users.

The Hartford executive vice president, strategic initiatives & technology Jim Eckerle said the goal is to simplify core processes and operating mechanisms throughout the organization as the company work to become a more customer-centric and efficient company.

IBM Financial Services Sector general manager Maureen Sweeny said IBM will leverage cross-company capabilities from research engineers and financial services experts to provide The Hartford the technologies and smarter processes it needs to streamline its IT operations.

"In collaboration with The Hartford, IBM will help transform the company’s complex computing environment into a more simplified model," Sweeny said.