Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a series of six installments. Please find a link to the other installments below.
Whether or not insurance IT world has distinguished itself in its delivery of innovation, it certainly has not stinted in its rhetoric on the subject. In every outlet one could think of — articles, blogs, speeches, vendor presentations, IT executive retreats and roundtables, lunch time or water coolers conversations, industry forums, resumes, and everything else in between — IT executives and their enablers are proclaiming a commitment to innovation. But where is the innovation itself? What is its impact on the business today? What really is the next big thing? And what kind of IT leadership will help its companies to emerge as innovative insurers in the marketplace?
The first thing to get clear is that, for all the hype, the majority of innovations won’t make headlines. Innovation is a gradual, cumulative process with only occasional visible breakthroughs in the way business is done. It is a process with many stakeholders with disparate interests, within a highly regulated business context. However, that acknowledgment should encourage rather than dampen the ongoing conversation about innovation. IT leaders must remain at the forefront of change, anticipating needed changes, pushing the frontier of technology and tirelessly seeking ways to break barriers to profitability and efficiency gains, and staying one step ahead of the competition.
The CIO’s job is to distinguish reality from rhetoric. Business leaders don’t need convincing about the potential value of innovation in general; what they need is a clearly articulated path to execution of specific technology solutions that help them sell insurance and manage risk along the way.
CIOs need to establish a forward-thinking posture that defines and quantifies both threats and benefits. And since innovations are by nature experimental and speculative, CIOs must also institute a framework to manage innovative activities. The following parts of this series provide recommendations of what such a framework might look like in a context of an insurance carrier’s technology strategy.
Editor’s Note: Click the links below for the other installments in this series: