Stovepiped organizations ... identity authentication challenges ... weak analytical capabilities ... insular leadership ... a need for information sharing ... defining deliverables and metrics of success ... These are common phrases, almost cliches, in the pages of Insurance & Technology. There has been an ongoing, long-term struggle within the insurance industry against cultures, business/management structures and mind-sets that resist change, cooperation and new perspectives.
So it was both strangely familiar and unexpectedly disturbing to come across the same phrases and criticisms being applied to our country's government and defense and security-related institutions in the official report released last month by the 9/11 Commission. The "good" news is that insurers have no monopoly on turf battles, bureaucracy and lack of vision, but I almost don't even want to think about the bad news.
The Commission's report makes it clear that it's not just obsolete or inadequate computer systems that have contributed to our security vulnerabilities. As I&T readers know, technology project failure has as much to do with management weaknesses and bad attitudes as with systems failures or budget limitations. Not even the most advanced technologies can help achieve business goals if those goals are unrealistic and poorly defined. That often has been the case with the current and previous administrations' response to the challenge of fighting terrorism. Perhaps the time has come for an administration that purports to run itself like a business to actually try to analyze what really distinguishes successful businesses and institutions.
Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio