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The 2005 Business Technology Forecast

The 2005 Business Technology Forecast

Despite recent lean years, insurance technology executives actually do not seem to miss the free-spending '90s. After the optimism about budget growth that many CIOs expressed a year ago, hopes for 2005 seem to be for budget levels to remain even. Is this as good as it gets? If so, that may not necessarily be a bad thing for the industry. The austerity of recent years has taught IT organizations to waste much less and to perform much more skillfully and reliably - now less really is more.

But that doesn't mean that mapping and executing IT strategy has become simple. For example, legacy systems continue to take a high toll by diverting funds to maintenenace that could be used for development. But at many organizations that is generally the result of a sound cost/benefit analysis that CIOs can live with, especially since they have so much more influence today on the direction and amounts of their budgets and on the direction of the enterprise as a whole.

With the funding that does exist for development and other essential expenditures, such as process improvement, regulatory compliance and staff training, it's actually possible to be more optimistic about this year than the last. In another example of IT's role in addressing industry challenges, the world is proving to be an increasingly risky place, but insurers are finally living up to their essence as managers of risk - and technology is playing a starring role. Whether by mastering the enormously consequential activity of technology investment, by automating the underwriting function as much and as artfully as possible, or by creating a unified view of an enterprise's overall risk portfolio, insurers are moving further toward realizing the potential that IT has for an information-driven industry.

In this special report, Insurance & Technology will explore the implications of these topics, as well as other business and technology trends that are likely to present the proverbial challenges and opportunities for insurance companies. Beginning on page 26, members of I&T's Reader Advisory Board and other industry insiders share their views on the evolving role of the CIO and other issues of concern for the coming year. Next, TowerGroup's Cynthia Saccocia takes a look at technology spending across the industry (page 32). Finally, the editors of I&T look at a number of critical technology issues and trends, beginning on page 36.

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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