Insurance CIOs today must be able to function as business managers; gone are the days where chief information officers were just technology specialists. Speakers at the 6th Asia Insurance CIO Technology Summit yesterday said the CIO's role has changed from one of a reactive order-taker, to one that is a change agent and leader.
Celent Senior Analyst Nicolas Michellod outlined three other aspects to the CIO function, in addition to the traditional technical delivery and project management skills required. The CIO needs to be: 1) an instigator (of change), collaborating with and challenging what C-suite requires with empathy and strong relationships; 2) an integrator to connect old with the new, as well as internal and external; and 3) an innovator able to understand industry changes and bring new ideas and trends to the decision-making table. As such, key competencies and traits of the CIO include, among others, visionary leadership; social and emotional intelligence; operational, change, conflict and risk management skills; creativity and high tolerance for failure; and an entrepreneurial spirit.
A challenge for CIOs today, SaaS-firm Apptio’s Asia Pacific & Japan GM Robert Yue said, is to be seen as “more than a glorified IT manager”. Despite that technology is increasingly regarded at the heart of any business and that tech transformations are deemed necessary, the IT function appears to be dragged down by a less-than-stellar reputation among many business stakeholders, often perceived as cumbersome.
An agile IT function, he added, requires comprehensive tech transformation. Mr Yue thus made the case for a technology business management (TBM) framework to plan, govern and manage discussions around IT/tech operations and investment (the latter in relation to tech transformation). There is also a need for a TBM taxonomy to give context and enable messages to be articulated across the business organisation, such that all stakeholders are able to buy into the initiative. Ultimately, the transformed IT function should evolve from being just a provider, to a service partner of the business, and from a cost centre, to a revenue driver.
The conference, organised by Asia Insurance Review, and supported by the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), Celent and the International Insurance Society (IIS), ends today.