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IT has to Coordinate Rather Than Control

Mike Shadler, CIO, Genworth Financial

Mike Shadler, CIO, Genworth Financial

Biggest challenge in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2014

In 2014, technology will be challenged to provide flexible solutions in an increasingly complex and varied environment. As the business adjusts to changing market demands and needs to move faster and faster, product flexibility and agility become extremely important. Our mantra in IT should be "What got you here won't get you there." The challenge for IT teams will be to simplify the portfolio over time while still delivering enhanced business capabilities.

Solutions that will make my job easier

In our business, we have done a nice job of building consistent and reliable solutions for administering our books of business. We should really focus on simplifying the process of product education, of selling, and submitting business to our enterprise. We need modernized administrative systems, bringing them into the 21st century. I would like to see more tools around legacy system modernization and maintenance, allowing us to create a culture of innovation, spending more on business transformation and less on legacy maintenance and support.

Technology trends having a significant impact

The use of Big Data and the associated data analytics could have significant analytics of consumer transactions, life events, and trends will likely prove to be a game changer as we work to drive smart growth. In addition, we must be vigilant in enhancing and maintaining our cyber security tools and efforts–any breach would have financial and reputational implications.

Changing role of a CIO

The CIO role has changed in three significant ways:

1. The expectation for innovation is higher than ever. You now have to drive operational efficiency and innovate.

2. Today’s CIO needs to be a stronger advocate of the business while at the same time being forward looking enough to blend the required foundational investment in IT/business capabilities with shorter term business priorities.

3. The “consumerization” of IT has changed the perception of what technology can do in the business. Not every solution calls for traditional IT involvement–and IT needs to embrace that idea, not fear it.

My word for a CIO

Be a true business partner, not an IT solutions order taker. The ability of the CIO to engage at all levels of the organization as a true business leader, advocating for how technology enhances the business strategy, is essential to the success of the enterprise. Own the core technology knowledge and capability. Outsourcing is a powerful tool, but you need high quality professionals that work in your company that know how technology impacts and influences the business and our customers. Always deliver and have a reputation as a leader who delivers by focusing time on those things that provide differentiation and competitive advantage. Be creative, adaptable and pragmatic. Understand the market, the technical landscape, and the risk profile from both the business and the IT perspective. Create a pipeline of strong leadership.

Weekly Brief

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