At this time of economic and operational uncertainty, many global insurers are scurrying to identify-and then rectify-vulnerable components of their operations.In April, executives at Boston-based John Hancock Financial Services Inc. believe they made a key decision to help restore stability to the operation when the carrier inked a multi-year agreement to implement IBM Corp.'s e-business on-demand solution.

Introduced in December and offered within IBM's Insurance Transformation Solutions (ITS) unit, on-demand is an integrated end-to-end and enterprisewide solution lauded for its ability to create a flexible IT infrastructure for insurers-a capability that enables quick response to computing demand fluctuations. On-demand enables insurers to invest only in what they need from an IT standpoint. With IT budgets greatly scaled back, on-demand computing is viewed as an ideal alternative, since most insurers aren't equipped to invest in a full suite of IT solutions.

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