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New Aetna chief technology officer Michael Mathias will focus on the insurer's integrated platform strategy, services-oriented architecture, business process optimization and improved technology delivery.

While senior technology officers are often challenged by business executives' failure to appreciate the value of technology, new Aetna CTO Michael Mathias says he enjoys the more gratifying challenge of working with business colleagues who know the importance of IT. "They understand the value IT has and have a great appetite to stay ahead," Mathias remarks.

That appetite has helped Aetna's IT organization deliver its existing "industrial strength" capabilities, according to Mathias. As CTO Mathias sees his role as driving greater agility in response to market challenges and opportunities. Mathias joined Aetna in 1993 and had risen to become head of the carrier's technology architecture and strategy in 2006 and was named head of enterprise architecture in 2007. As CTO, Mathias reports directly to Meg McCarthy, Aetna's CIO.

Among Mathias' top priorities are moving forward Aetna's integrated platform strategy and driving increased alignment with the business with through service-oriented architectural principles. Mathias will also seek to help Aetna optimize its business processes. "We'll be looking to see where we can improve processes and, where possible, to inject technology to make them more efficient," he says.

While engaging with the business, Mathias will also look to improve the IT organization's internal capabilities. "We're always looking to improve in our ability to build and deploy business solutions, driving cost out and being able to respond quicker to the demands of the business." The ultimate aim of his organization, Mathias says, "is to provide a cohesive, simplified experience for all of our constituencies, and I think the architecture we're putting in place, including the integrated platform and service orientation, is going to provide that."

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

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