What distinguishes the elite CIO in the end are results. "We have seen a number of CIOs demonstrate bold leadership in driving enterprisewide, multiyear IT transformation programs in order to align with changing business goals and enable IT to become more flexible, nimble, scalable and cost-effective," comments Michael Adler, global managing partner with Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM Global Business Services. "These initiatives typically deliver cost and productivity improvements. But in many cases the most important long-term and strategic benefits center around speed to market and new product introduction, customer service enhancements and a single view of the customer."
Adler describes a virtuous cycle in which elite CIOs use success to build further success, not only gaining the confidence of the business, but also reaching out to external stakeholders, such as agents, policyholders and vendors, to communicate benefits and obtain buy-in. Success also drives high morale and retention of staff by giving them opportunities to work on more-challenging projects, gain skills and progress in their careers, he notes.
At their most successful, elite insurance technology executives are instrumental in envisioning and shaping the strategic destiny of their companies. They use transformation programs to engage the business in rethinking business models and processes to identify opportunities to share components and services across the enterprise, as well as to craft processes uniquely suited to business, products or geographies, Adler says.
"Elite CIOs are also challenging their business and IT organizations to be innovative in terms of methods, products, IT and business processes," Adler relates. "More recently, a handful of elite CIOs are taking project-centric SOA initiatives to the enterprise level in order to facilitate new business models, drive reuse and support speed-to-market initiatives.
What Makes a Successful CIO?
The constant evolution of information and a changing competitive environment -- shaped by such diverse forces as general economic conditions, industry consolidation, changing customer expectations, and natural and man-made catastrophes -- ensure that the profile of the effective insurance technology executive continues to change.
Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio