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11:40 AM
Chris Murphy, InformationWeek
Chris Murphy, InformationWeek
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Northwestern Mutual CIO: Tech Dominates Conversations With Producers, Customers

Tim Schaefer, CIO of Northwestern Mutual Life, said in a panel discussion that insurers can no longer hide the technology needed to meet business needs.

[Related: What Makes A Great IPad App for Insurance Agents?

If you're hosting a CIO panel discussion, getting execs from three Fortune 200 companies and one $4 billion-a-year nonprofit hospital group is a great start. But a recent panel I moderated also had a focused mission: to share real-world IT trends with academics, to help them figure out how to prepare the next generation of IT leaders.

The panel kicked off the 50th annual meeting of the Association for Computing Machinery's "Special Interest Group on Management Information Systems," and was hosted by the Society for Information Management Wisconsin chapter and ACM SIG-MIS's Computer and People Research conference. Here are four ideas from that discussion that stood out for me.

It's OK To Talk Tech Now

As CIO of Northwestern Mutual, Tim Schaefer has long met with NML financial advisers. Just a few years ago, many of them would almost apologize to Schaefer while explaining they weren't that into technology. Today, however, they're jumping in with ideas for what the company should do next, suggesting apps, and pulling Schaefer into discussions. One big reason is the iPad. Unlike a laptop, the iPad is a comfortable, unobtrusive device to use with would-be customers amid conversations about investments and financial goals.

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