By Nathan Conz Associate Editor
All four CIOs on the panel - Saad Ayub, CIO for Sales and Service Applications, The Hartford; Jeff Carlson, senior vice president, CIO for Domestic Life Companies, AIG; Ursuline Foley, Senior Vice President and CIO, XL Reinsurance and XL Financial Lines; and Paul Fox, CIO, Guy Carpenter & Company - said they were working to migrate off legacy systems to some degree. That reinforced some vendors' sentiments and research found in a recent report from Forrester that anticipated the IT industry will see increased investment this year, driven partially by legacy replacement."We're committed to a conversion from legacy," declared Guy Carpenter's Fox, who said his organization is in the midst of a long term effort to migrate seven back office legacy systems into one.
Ayub added that there are some wholesale legacy replacement efforts at The Hartford, but that the IT team is also decoupling some related services so that some legacy data can be kept, allowing for more gradual migration efforts.
XL's Foley said her company is in year three of a five-year initiative to standardize business processes by driving out legacy systems and building components for across the enterprise. "The long term value really is increased efficiency," she said.
One driving factor behind replacement is that legacy systems are being realized as risks to business, as workers who maintain these systems retire in growing numbers. "At some point, you have to tackle the problem," Foley explained. "You're going to run out of the skill set."
Another key to legacy replacement is demonstrating inherent risks and hindrances to the business. For instance, off-shoring has helped make efficiency problems more apparent. "The best opportunity is to help the business understand the underlined complexity [caused by legacy systems] in everything we try to do," AIG's Carlson said.
Foley agreed, adding that a push towards "business outsourcing is beginning to expose the levels of complexity in our processes."
Several other topics were discussed by the four CIOs, who were joined by Ann M. Purr, second vice president, information management for LOMA and moderator Gregory A. Maciag, president and CEO of ACORD. The panel agreed that data security will continue to be a critical issue going forward and that there is growing preference to buy solutions, rather than build. "If your core business is insurance," Foley explained, "you want to focus on analytics, which is where the value to the organization is."