As the technology infrastructures within insurers become increasingly complex, a greater onus will fall on the shoulders of enterprise architects, a new report from Boston-based Celent finds.

The report, “The Labours of Hercules: The Challenges Facing Insurance Enterprise Architects,” says the issue requires a deeper melding of IT and the underlying business processes.

"IT change is arriving at the gates of the insurer at an ever-increasing rate," notes Craig Beattie, analyst with Celent’s insurance group and author of the report. "Staff are now more knowledgeable about technology than ever before. How (or if) the IT function chooses to allow new technology, it must be in line with the insurer’s overall objectives."

The report says there are five primary challenges facing architects: advocating for technology investment, maximizing legacy investment, optimizing support platforms, leveraging emerging data center models, and fostering productively disruptive technologies.

The enterprise architect is expected to be an expert not only in the issues facing the insurer but also the technology that could resolve them,” says Beattie.

One additional conundrum facing architects is how deliver rapid ROI while still building a solid technological foundation for future growth. "All too often flexibility and agility are sacrificed in order to get a quick, short-term focused return on investment," notes Beattie in the report. "Against this backdrop, how can one maximize the value of investment in IT in both the short and long terms?

The solution, Celent says, is take pains to ensure that investments are tightly aligned with business goals. “In complex organizations, enterprise architecture is a practice that can allow a holistic view to be taken, further aiding investment decisions,” Beattie reports. “All this analysis is for nought, however, if an organization continues to operate a method for selecting projects that doesn’t reflect its priorities.”

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