201210 Insurance and Technology: Changing Times- How CIO's Can Increase Influence


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Contributor to an article following Elite 8 winner announcements discussing how CIO's can increase their strategic influence and better enable their organizations to realize the benefits from technology.

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201210 Insurance and Technology: Changing Times- How CIO's Can Increase Influence

  1. 1. Craig Weber,CelentFrankChanging Times: How Insurance CIOs CanStrengthen Their Strategic InfluenceBy Anthony ODonnell (mailto:Anthony.ODonnell@ubm.com)October 25, 2012URL: (http://insurancetech.com/business-intelligence/changing-times-how-insurance-cios-can-st/240009655)Optimism Under PressureCraig Weber, Celent (http://www.celent.com/)The successful insurance CIO acts in a spirit of "optimism under pressure." MostCIOs have resources at their disposal -- not as many as theyd like, perhaps, butenough to make a big difference in their companies performance. Theres a sense thattechnology is gaining traction and delivering improvements more efficiently thanever before.CIOs are definitely key players in senior management now. The past decade hastaught us that getting value out of IT spending is hard to do, and most businesspeople know they lack the skills and experience to do it well. Secretly, lots ofbusiness people (including CEOs) are terrified of the complexity in todays technology. EffectiveCIOs have job security and/or high employability.Setting strategy is about managing tradeoffs, and no one knows better than a CIO what is possibleusing current and emerging technologies. But too often, CIOs are caught up in justifying IT costs oraddressing short-term needs and cant make the mental shift toward defining the world of the possibleto other inhabitants of the C-suite.The CIOs Golden RuleFrank Petersmark, X by 2 (http://www.xby2.com/)Todays environment is completely different from just a few years ago. CIOs areexpected to be strategic leaders while worrying about operational business alignment,innovate while battling strong headwinds against change within their organizations,and contribute directly to top-/bottom-line revenue while seeing overall investmentsin IT stay flat or slightly decrease.Alignment is yesterdays challenge for CIOs; if theyre not strategically integrated into their firms, then theyre not functioning effectively as a CIO. Where that hasntoccurred its often due to undelivered promises on IT initiatives -- over time, overbudget, unrealized efficiencies, etc. Thats how credibility and trust are lost.Page 1 of 310/26/2012http://www.insurancetech.com/business-intelligence/changing-times-how-insurance-cios-...
  2. 2. Petersmark, Xby 2SteveCallahan,Robert E.Nolan Co.StephenApplebaum,Aite GroupCIOs must be careful about how they communicate the complexity and effortrequired for enterprisewide IT initiatives. More CIOs than not get into trouble byoversimplifying what it will take to get something done; when things go awry, theyve left themselvesin a vulnerable position and risk damaging whatever hard-earned credibility theyve attained. Thegolden CIO rule is still to do what you say youre going to do, and implicit in that is thinking carefullyabout what you and your division can and cannot do.Know Your BusinessSteve Callahan, Robert E. Nolan Co. (http://www.renolan.com/)Know your business -- that is the key to success in todays volatile world.Technology has always been complex, but the shift in complexity from the "hard"world of managing raised floors and data farms to information-driven "soft"technologies imposes an amplified demand for business acumen. For the former,technical depth was key; for the latter, a blend of business-specific knowledge andcontinually updated technological breadth is a necessity. Actionable thoughtleadership able to determine which combination of increasingly diverse options willdrive optimal business value, and then deliver it on time, is todays executive jackpot.A CIO capable of driving rapid implementations with agility and flexibility is therare find that truly stands out.Many of the other demands on a CIO -- resource balancing, scope management,governance, communication skills, staff leadership -- have always been and will continue to befoundational skills. Knowing which specific solution to run, why it is best for the business, and howto get it in place ensures C-level trust, a place at the strategic planning table, and a more successfulbusiness.Risk and SuccessStephen Applebaum, Aite Group (http://www.aitegroup.com/)The greatest risk for CIOs lies not in which projects they pursue, but how well theones they select align with the needs and expectations of the business. Large-scale,cross-enterprise legacy integration projects have proven to be career makers forinsurance CIOs. Transformation of IT units from maintenance departments todelivery and transformation organizations can be a prerequisite to such large-scaleprojects or can simply be important stand-alone successes. Some of the more visiblecareer mistakes include improper selection and/or execution on core systemreplacements and integration partners, projects that are costly and disruptive evenwhen they go well but that can represent disastrous consequences for the entirebusiness when they go badly.Recent CIO success stories -- and lessons learned -- do have some recurring themes, and adoptingmarket-tested and proven technologies is surprisingly not one of them. The implementation of aproject management office (PMO) with proper authority and executive support has proven effective inmanaging large, complex projects that have cross-enterprise impact. CIOs who have achieved realtransformation have had to cultivate trust among their management teams over time throughPage 2 of 310/26/2012http://www.insurancetech.com/business-intelligence/changing-times-how-insurance-cios-...
  3. 3. DavidHollander,Ernst & YoungDeborahSmallwood,SMApersistence and the use of thoughtful and compelling analytics while also leveraging initially smallsuccesses that can be scaled.Beyond Traditional RolesDavid Hollander, Ernst & Young (http://www.ey.com/)The demand for technology-enabled change throughout the business has never beengreater. Amid competing business and regulatory demands, ever-growing enterpriseintelligence, analytics and predictive modeling needs exist throughout the entireinsurance value chain. To meet these challenges, CIOs must continue to movebeyond their traditional roles to become strategic partners with the business inprioritizing the allocation of scarce capital and IT resources.[Introducing I&T’s Elite 8 of 2012]Among the greatest challenges CIOs face today are: simultaneous need for growthand profitability; increased focus on the customer; the need for a more precise regulatory reportingresponse, powered by multiple data sources; and coming to terms with the emergence of the chief data officer role.Chief Insight OfficerDeborah Smallwood, SMA (https://strategymeetsaction.com/)The business challenge is all about growth and optimization. This requires ITinvestment. For the CIO, it often becomes a capacity and speed issue. Its a realchallenge to shift IT investments and resources to deliver more value (typically forless dollars) while continuing to deliver the high quality for current operations andreduce IT operational and project costs. The partnership between business and IT hasnever been more important.Successful CIOs will be those who begin to think of their role more as the "chiefinsight officer" than the chief information officer. Over the next decade, CIOs willface a formidable challenge in making sure their organizations are positioned tocapitalize on the explosion of information, all the new ways to interact, the hyper-connected world,and the host of options for sourcing IT services. But ultimately, the real challenge will be the ability todrive new insights to more effectively guide the business strategy and deliver competitive advantage.Copyright ® 2010 United Business Media LLC (http://ubmtechnology.com/united-business-media-llc-copyright/) | Privacy Statement(http://ubmtechnology.com/united-business-media-llc-privacy-statement/) | Terms of Service (http://ubmtechnology.com/united-business-media-llc-terms-of-service/) |Contact Us (http://insurancetech.com/contact) | RSS (http://insurancetech.com/rss)Page 3 of 310/26/2012http://www.insurancetech.com/business-intelligence/changing-times-how-insurance-cios-...