When the economy soured three years ago, many decision-makers adopted the mantra that all discretionary IT spending had to be justified by return on investment. That is, a business case with demonstrable return had to be presented, first by a vendor and then by the manager pushing the project.By and large, this scenario continues to persist in business-the insurance industry is no exception.

But is this the sole criteria that "smart" insurance companies are applying to determine their IT investments? According to Gartner Inc., 70% of IT spending is still seen as a cost center rather than a value center. If that's true, the answer appears to be no.

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