Important trends are generally just the next generation of proven concepts in the world of computing – it’s more evolution than revolution.
One example is the very important trend in data and analytics. Obviously we have been storing and analyzing data pretty much since the beginning of computing. Many of the core concepts – e.g., getting the right data, developing hypotheses and using statistical models – haven’t changed. However, other things have, such the capacity and cost of storage and database technologies.
Cloud is in the same category: we’ve gone through different generations of virtualization, including the early example of the mainframe – using one big box to run many things. But today we have private cloud and can move between platforms in ways we never could have in the past.
Consumerization is a revolutionary trend in that, while it leverages existing technology, it is a new phenomenon for businesses to cope with. Companies such as Nationwide have to respond by interacting with customers in their preferred manner and putting the right tools in the hands of our associates. For example, we have a large implementation of Yammer now, which is essentially internal Twitter. These new social, digital, mobile ways of interaction signal a fundamental shift in the way the public interacts with business, making them truly game-changers.
In insurance specifically, the biggest game-changer is the emergence of high-quality package software at scale. In the past, tier one insurance companies would develop their own core systems if for no other reason than you couldn’t buy them off the shelf. Today you can. And not only for personal lines policy administration, but also in areas such as claims, where we’re replacing 30-year-old COBOL code with off-the-shelf purchased, flexible software on a modern architecture from Guidewire, our primary partner in this area.
Table of Contents: IIR February 2014: CIO Survivors
Profiles in Longevity: