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By Curt Overpeck, CIO, Citizens Property Insurance
Using Technology to Mitigate Risk Management Costs
With respect to IT risk management, technology can cost-effectively eliminate or mitigate external threats originating from email or web-based sources. Examples would be identification and elimination of malware intended to destroy or steal data assets or to extort (ransomware). We use software to scan incoming email and validate web addresses (URL’s) as “safe.”
Technology can also be used to identify vulnerabilities in our network Infrastructure, thus supporting elimination or mitigation efforts. Examples are scanning all physical networks computing hardware asset to report known vulnerabilities.
Artificial Intelligence—the Key to Cost Reduction
Artificial intelligence (algorithms) is leading to cost reduction and improved accuracy/consistency in underwriting, claims management, and fraud detection. I’m also excited about the development and innovations relating to the “Internet of Things.” I’m referring to smart devices of various types that monitor, respond, or report on situations or conditions. Some examples I’m seeing are water-leak detection in homes and auto reporting to insurance companies.
Emergence of Connectedness through Mobile Devices
Mobile devices have provided us with immediate access to information anywhere. Whether that is for business needs, personal needs, or entertainment, smart mobile devices provide immediate access regardless of where we happen to be at any given moment.
Technology can also be used to identify vulnerabilities in our network Infrastructure, thus supporting elimination or mitigation efforts
Such access has led to a ‘connectedness’ through social networking as mobile devices allow real-time access to friends and family regardless of where you are.
Another aspect of technology in daily life is that information resources are immediately accessible. Want to find a restaurant or gas station close to where you happen to be? That information is instantly available. There is an incredible and expanding wealth of readily available information for training/development and inquiry.
Unique Skills for Effective Technology Leadership
Communication, collaboration, and people management skills will always be the foundation of effective technology leadership. Another critical component is the ability to deeply understand the business needs of the organization and evaluate opportunities afforded by technology.
Evolution of Operating Model
I would say the operating model now calls for a more team-based approach and more collaboration, both within IT and across business units. A perfect example of this is the increased use of agile methodologies over more traditional sequential development. There is also an increased emphasis on effective staff recruiting and retention. We are focusing more and more on employee engagement and individual development plans.
Overcoming Enterprises Challenges
Genuine collaboration across business units and across the enterprise as a whole is a challenge.
Another is maintaining enterprise focus and alignment on critical goals and objectives. Another challenge is to maintain the ability to evaluate enterprise-beneficial opportunities in an incredibly fast-changing technology environment.
A high performance organization must also have the right personnel to meet its goals. Hiring, developing, and retaining persons with skills, aptitudes, and personal orientation that support a high performance organization is critical.
Deliverables with Time-bound Agile Sprints
We do; we set deliverables with time-bound agile sprints. We are implementing agile delivery methodologies at the product level. We use scrum and Kanban. Within IT, DevOps initiatives are being used for faster build-deployment of systems. We are just starting to use enterprise-level agile methodologies across all teams.