The analysts say it's a given. More than 65% of insurance companies in a study conducted more than two years ago by Gartner Inc., a Stamford, Conn., research firm, agreed that the general trend for IT architecture is toward a "services-oriented approach."Mark Gorman, research director with TowerGroup, a Needham, Mass.-based research firm, says its current research confirms that carriers are using some form of services-oriented architecture (SOA). "Carriers are more advanced in their knowledge of SOA," he says. "They're not just analyzing it any more."

It may be a known and desired commodity, but what insurers really know about its potential for success-and failure-remains to be seen.

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