As Chubb's enterprise CIO as of this spring, Jim Knight acknowledges that he faces many of the typical challenges of his industry peers on the way to accomplishing similar objectives. The mission of Chubb's IT organization is, he says, "one of leading-edge systems that provide us competitive advantage across all business units."
Beyond the predictable similarities with other insurance IT organizations, however, Knight takes pride in what he characterizes as Chubb's IT organization's outstanding reputation for successfully executing IT programs and in its determination to do even better. "Our demand is outstripping supply, so we're looking for ways to be even more nimble and agile."
Toward that objective, Knight's organization has adopted the acronym "BASIC," which stands for boundary-less, agile, strategic, innovative and collaborative. While Chubb's IT is organized on a federated plan, the ideal of being "boundary-less" means, Knight explains, "that even though we have IT folks that work for a specific business unit, at the end of the day they are looking after the greater good of the enterprise."
Knight also emphasizes the "strategic" ideal, signifying, he explains, "that we're not the order-taker, we are solution providers that not only provide business solutions but also identify them, including workflows and the resulting technologies that allow the business units to meet their strategic objectives."
Innovation and collaboration are built into Chubb's IT culture, both in the organization's proactive approach to finding superior business solutions and also in its historically strong IT/business alignment, according to Knight. Of those and the other "BASIC" virtues, Knight says, "we have elements of each of them already, but we believe we can bring them to an even higher level of maturity."
Knight succeeds June Drewry in the enterprise CIO role. Drewry, who is currently working on special projects at Chubb, took on the role on a transitional basis in early 2006, upon the retirement of Chuck McCaig.
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