When John Golden took control of IT at CNA Financial Corp. in late 2001, he faced the same challenges many CIOs are still grappling with: How do you transform diverse legacy systems into a modern platform that enables faster product development, better customer service, higher productivity and greater operational efficiency?After consolidating 20 IT groups into one, and focusing on the business value and total cost of ownership of IT systems and applications, Golden, in only a few years, has reduced the Chicago-based carrier's nondiscretionary IT expenses from $400 million per year to $200 million.

What's more, Golden's IT team now spends 37% of its time on maintenance of applications and 63% on new project development-a complete flip-flop from how it divided its time in 2001.

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