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IT departments must adapt quickly to new technologies: Expert

IT departments must adapt quickly to new technologies: Expert

SAN DIEGO—Insurance companies need to remake their technology backbone in light of a rapidly evolving technology ecosystem.

Speaking at the Monday at the Insurance Accounting & Systems Assn. Inc. Educational Conference and Business Show in San Diego, author and cloud computing expert Michael Hugos said the confluence of cloud computing, social and mobile technologies and agile development methodologies are forcing a paradigm shift in how information technology departments interact with business units. Corporate IT departments for many years were the center of innovation, but must now to adopt technologies spawned in the consumer space. Moreover, they must do so in a more expeditious manner, he added.

“IT departments must adapt or risk being swept aside,” he said. “We need to get past this notion that we need 18 to 36 months to complete a project.”

The turnkey nature of cloud computing is critical to this new pressure to bring technologies to bear quicker, said Mr. Hugos. Thus, he recommended companies create hybrid architectures to accommodate both cloud computing and traditional data centers. Key to this effort is the creation of an orchestration layer that can mediate between cloud-based programs and platforms and those housed with a company's own data center. “IT departments need to be able to split systems as business needs dictate,” he said.

The shift toward rapid deployment means that IT departments should seek to create “80% solutions” that, while robust, pare back some functionality in exchange for expediency, according to Mr. Hugos. “Good enough is how we live today,” he said, noting that even as insurance companies work feverishly to leverage today's big new technology trends, the next big new thing in technology may be just around the corner. “The thing about game changers is that they don't give you much chance to respond.”

IASA is a Durham, N.C.-based nonprofit association that promotes the use of technology and best practices in insurance.

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