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The Role of the CIO

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Narrator: While some insurance company chief information officers are driving business value and leading innovation, many have yet to move from the back office to the front lines, according to PwC’s Diamond Advisory Services.

In its third annual Digital IQ Study, which surveyed 724 senior business and IT executives, including 47 from the insurance industry, Diamond found that there are significant opportunities for insurance CIOs to move from tactical responders into strategic leaders. Jamie Yoder, managing director of Diamond’s insurance practice explains this trend.

Jamie Yoder: The biggest trend obviously is moving more from a tactical responder to a strategic leader. They’re really playing much more of a role as the technology and I would say the customers’ views and expectations around how organizations interact with them – technology obviously playing a key role in that. The role of a technology leader is really providing innovation thought leadership more aimed at products, services but how growth can be driven within the organization. It’s created a shift in the context of, as opposed to just “back off, get the business running, make sure the technology’s running”, that’s obviously still expected, but it’s also how do we need to be thinking of all of these new technologies from mobility to channel interaction models, new sources of information. How do we need to incorporate that into our business to really drive growth? There’s obviously a cost component and an efficiency component that everyone looks at – and a productivity component that people look to in IT, so it’s not that that’s been removed, but it’s sort of an “and”. Obviously the technology can play an increasingly important role in our customer engagement and the revenue side of the business.

Narrator: The Digital IQ Study found that more than 60 percent of respondents believe that the CIO has an understanding of how advances in IT could significantly influence or change their company’s core products and services; yet, only one in three believe that the CIO is recognized as a business leader and not just an IT leader. Jamie explains one possible reason for this disconnect.

Jamie Yoder: It’s interesting – I don’t know exactly what the lifespan of the average CIO is these days – it’s never been terribly long – but a lot of that goes as the organization kind of shifts from an efficiency and cost-savings mode to now more of a growth mode. Those things are often looked at very differently. There’s sort of two types of CIOs: there’s the visionary, strategic thinker and leader in terms of how technology can help shape the business but there’s also more of an operator. I think in today’s world, we have to have both. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same individual but you have to have created a model that very much brings that expertise to bear. I think too often it was always one or the other within the organization. I think obviously you have to find a way that it becomes very evident across your organization that you have both those capabilities even if they’re not embedded in the same person.

More with Jamie Yoder on innovation in the insurance industry:

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nauman Noor, Diamond Advisory Ins. Diamond Advisory Ins said: Where are the opportunities for the #insurance industry #CIO? #InsIT @ilstv [...]

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