CIOs are judged on their ability to carry the big project (core system replacement, legacy migration) to fruition. However, smaller projects can also provide substantial and more immediate value to the enterprise.

With this in mind, New York-based Novarica has launched Cool Capabilities, a quarterly compendium of successful technology projects insurers have undertaken that are notable for their simplicity and utility.

“CIOs have so many huge, complex problems to solve that a lot of times these little, easy, high-impact solutions get de-prioritized,” Matthew Josefowicz, director of Novarica and head of the insurance practice, tells Insurance Networking News. “We hope by bringing these examples to the fore, we get people to think about these things with an open mind. Where can you get an easy victory in addition to the long hard slog you are already engaged in.”

Indeed, while the five projects featured in this quarter’s report span the breadth of the enterprise and a range of technologies, a common thread is imagination. Two examples at revolve around companies leveraging the ubiquity and flexibility of an existing technology format, the PDF, to improve underwriting and billing processes, respectively. 

Another project profiled shows how an insurer used a new hardware form factor borrowed from the consumer market, the tablet computer, to drive down costs. One of the ways technologies such as the iPad may help insurers shrink costs is by eliminating the need for IT support, Josefowicz says. “There’s a big belief among CIOs that within the next few years that they will be out of the personal hardware business. They provide a secure, virtual window and people will access that on whatever personal hardware they happen to have. This is a potentially huge shift.”   

Other cool technologies fixes can be made with existing hardware. Novarica profiles an initiative at a mono-line insurer to improve data quality. By mandating a seal of approval watermark on its user-generated business intelligence reports, they were able to incentive the creation of quality reports. “It’s almost an internal branding issue,” he says. “Everybody is free to create whatever reports they want, but if they want them taken seriously they have to run them through this process."


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