The concept that insurance technology executives are focused as much, if not more, on business as technology is well accepted today. Actually, it's no longer accurate to discuss it as a concept-it's a fact of life. That's not an ultimate role definition, but rather another stage in what we now recognize as the ongoing and (hopefully) never-ending evolution of the role of the CIO.
What that evolution is heading toward is not entirely clear, a fact that is inspiring lively debate, not least of all in our own offices. After all, understanding who the readers of Insurance & Technology and our sister publications are and what kind of information they need to more effectively do their jobs is the cornerstone of an effective content/editorial strategy. Does a business strategist require the same information a technologist needs? Is there a difference? What level of executive is involved in technology investment and management-strictly board level? Or does tech strategy now cross multiple corporate levels and job descriptions?
The open-minded moderate in me would like to say, "All of the above," but that begs the issue (and also can make for non-focused, generic content). However, what is clear is what the CIO (the title's not going away) increasingly does not do: build technology. Also increasingly clear is the fact that the executive charged with managing technology is actually devoting considerable time and energy to managing contracts and providers. The term "broker" is starting to be used more frequently to describe the CIO's role-someone who can effectively acquire, and still sometimes oversee the building of, technology and related services that help the business meet its strategic challenges.
Does that mean the future CIO mantra will be "Buy low, sell high" (or maybe "Shop till you drop")? It's not such a far-fetched concept.
Katherine Burger, Editorial Director
Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio