Understanding What Business Partners Are Trying To Accomplish

Ursuline Foley, SVP & CIO, XL Group
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Ursuline Foley, SVP & CIO, XL Group

Ursuline Foley, SVP & CIO, XL Group

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

Data, Data, Data. It’s growing exponentially every day. The challenge is to capture it, manage it and analyze it to allow for better decision-making throughout the company.

It would be a lot more beneficial if some of the data management tools were marketed and integrated as a total solution for the business. Reporting is another major need.

The areas in business environment where solutions do not yet exist or not up to the mark, and which if existed, would've made job easier

For insurers, technology offers major strategic competitive advantagesstreamlined processes to boost internal efficiency, better data to make better underwriting decisions, more efficient claims handling and real-time datasharing to improve the customer experience. Many companies have been slow to adopt new technologies.

We have grown via M&As and tried to push forward- in challenging insurance market conditionsoperating on multiple legacy systems. Transformational initiatives that depend on major process reengineering require major investments, a big step, but we’ve started to make them. We completed a multi-year program to build one global claims management system and separately a single global reinsurance platform. Keeping such programs focused on delivery, schedule and budget is a challenge that many can lose sleep over. Having some successes certainly paves the way for other opportunities which we are now pursuing such as Financial Transformation and Management Information, all big challenges, but very important and will be worth it in the long run.

Technology Trends Impacting Enterprise BusinessEnvironment

Our success rests on the underwriting decisions that we make. How we improve our decisions is through more information and better analysis. Therefore, data governance, integrated reporting, modeling tools and visual analytics- collecting and leveraging the right data, good quality data, standardizing it for usage and sharing the results- is going to help guide our decision-making going forward. We see a greater dependency on modeling tools, data governance type tools, integrated reporting and visual analytics as key enablers to help drive better results going forward.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO
 
CIOs used to provide the IT services that businesses needed to operate. We were more of a backroom function. Now, we’re more like business advisors, not mere order- takers or technology fulfillment departments. Our business partners recognize more and more, that pretty much everything that they do relies on technology in some way or other and as a result they are now more likely to invite I.T. as a trusted partner early on in the process and not as an afterthought. Our business recognizes that the right use of technology can be a very competitive advantage.

Lessons learned as a CIO

What’s challenging and rewarding about our roles? Stay on top of technological advances- being experts in our own field while also learning about the business that we serve. For me, that means understanding how we underwrite risks, report financials and service insurance claims. The more we understand what our business partners are trying to accomplish, the more likely we are to advise them wisely of the technology options available to help them to advance and grow their business. “Adding business value” is an important aspect of our IT culture, mantra and goals.

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