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The Economic Times, ET CIO: Cognizant’s Global Practice Head of Insurance Says Insurance CIOs Must Make Their Organizations Catalysts of Digital Transformation

“In their quest to become more customer-centric, insurers too are increasingly investing in digital technologies that help predict customer behaviors and engage with them on their terms,” writes Muthu Kumaran. “As the need to go digital pervades businesses worldwide, the challenges and opportunities for CIOs have never been greater.” Excerpts:

“To reclaim their edge, insurance CIOs must remake themselves and their organizations into true catalysts of digital transformation that transcend their traditional role of “cost container” or “chief problem-fixer.”

First, they need to broaden their perspective on what digital is and put it at the center of how they think about delivering solutions and enabling the best customer experience. The CIO can influence and inspire change versus just pushing technology solutions without people knowing what challenge or problem is being addressed.

CIOs need to become integral in ensuring that hoped-for digital business outcomes are realized. This means partnering with the CXO team to create a digital roadmap that leverages technology investments and delivery capabilities. CIOs have the opportunity to play a facilitative leadership role by enabling collaboration across cross-functional teams, and by ensuring that the digital strategy is informed by opportunities derived from studying market trends and customer needs.

Building on a shared commitment to enhanced customer experience, CIOs and CMOs can work together on creating a common set of customer-centered key performance indicators (KPIs), with each respective stakeholder being held responsible for specific goals and outcomes.

In addition to internal collaboration, insurance CIOs also need to forge new relationships and partnerships with external constituents.

CIOs who want to lead digital transformation need to move beyond a mindset of “keeping the lights on” and begin actively noticing the changes in their industry and the world around them, particularly when it comes to what customers want and need, and how that might change over time.

Key to doing this is thinking beyond industry “givens,” and developing a fresh perspective by exploring how other industries — such as retail, financial services and media/entertainment — approach digital opportunities and roadblocks.

Analytics can deliver value throughout the insurance value chain leading to more effective marketing strategies, which results in the ability to influence customer behavior. CIOs are also well positioned to help their organizations layer “systems of intelligence” on existing legacy systems to enable powerful engagement interfaces.

CIOs need to take the initiative to find creative ways to fill the skills gaps created by the digital economy, rather than waiting for human resources to take care of it. CIOs need to look outside the industry and even the IT profession to invite fresh thinking and skills into the organization.

The CIO needs to complete the shift to digital change agent, becoming a true digital champion and a trusted advisor to the CEO.”

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