October 18, 2011 – Even the most able of insurance CIOs may find themselves hard pressed to keep their footing on a rapidly evolving technological playing field. Yet, even if they do, they may find the rules of the game are changing too.  

The complexities of the relationship between CIOs and the technologies they employ have been much discussed this week at the CIO Insurance Summit in Miami. In his keynote address, Gavin Michael, chief technology information officer, Accenture, enumerated several reasons why the role of CIO is changing so rapidly. First, the abundance of processing power and changing cost of IT has broadened the possibilities of what is possible. Another transformative current is coming for customers, who come to expect a degree of self-service and technological sophistication from their insurer unthinkable a decade ago. What’s more, the democratization of computer technology has lessened the knowledge gap between CEOs and CIOs when it comes to IT. “Now, [when these two talk technology] it’s expert to expert,” Michael said.

With this is mind, what’s step should CIOs take to ensure they are moving their enterprise in a technologically forward direction? Broadly, Michael said insurers need to architect for a free flow of information, especially if they want to reap maximum benefit from trends such as mobility and the flood of new data sources available for analytics, such as information derived from social media. “You need a platform that can keep up with the velocity of the data,” he said.

More specifically, Michael listed eight technology trends that CIOs need to understand in order to drive change:

  • Data as platform
  • Analytics
  • Cloud computing
  • The move from server-centric architecture to service-centric architecture
  • IT security
  • Data privacy
  • Social platforms
  • User experience

While distinct, these trends are in no way mutually exclusive. For example, architectural concerns and intimately related with how a carrier would approach cloud computing or gather data for analytics. Likewise, insurers should use customer insight to drive growth and innovation. Indeed, today’s consumer craze may well portend future enterprise technologies. “What can we learn from Farmville or Angry Birds?” Michael asked.
This story originally appeared on Insurance Networking News.

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