With their backs against the wall to stimulate profits and revenues in the face of poor economic times, senior-level executives in insurance companies are turning to their chief information officers to breathe new life into their static operations.As IT spending begins to inch upward-industrywide expenditures are projected to increase gradually each year, peaking at about 7% by 2007-industry experts believe it's incumbent upon CIOs to capitalize on the additional dollars they'll have at their disposal. Having learned from experience, CIOs indicate they are poised to reach a higher level of IT spending stewardship, with many pledging to convert IT from what is now regarded as an art into a science.

But having more free reign on IT spending, which currently grows at about 2% a year, doesn't assure a safe landing. Barriers remain to establishing a strong IT spending strategy-with one of them being the inability of CIOs to cope with change management. Another is the ongoing quest to consummate full partnerships with internal business units.

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