Our readers have told us that their operational silos of the past have been replaced with a demand for a holistic, collaborative, unified approach to using technology to solve business problems.This approach has its roots in the countless changes currently taking place in the insurance industry: the new face of governance, Sarbanes-Oxley, various state reporting requirements and a host of other issues that affect an insurance organization's ability to acquire and retain a competitive advantage.

Insurance executives are being held accountable-not just for responding to change-they are increasingly responsible for being able to anticipate it.

The problem is, without the alignment of technology and business drivers, trying to read your company's crystal ball is akin to leading a safari without food, supplies or a map.

Mobilizing technology forces for change requires an inductive approach; your technology game plan must be the result of alignment with your company's specific business strategies and the support-inside out-from business leadership.

In theory, it works. Getting the buy-in you need from the business side means you can share the responsibility for the company's success-or failure.

We at Insurance Networking News are committed to making your success a reality. We know that you anticipate increasing your 2005 technology budgets (see page 10), and we know that making the business case for IT has become a true priority. In spite of the fallout from increased reporting requirements and "accountability" as the newest industrywide priority, getting buy-in to the dollars associated with technology that can solve business problems is still a considerable challenge.

It means understanding the business plan and how technology can improve it, and it means educating executive management to its short- and long-term benefits. It comes down to building organizational consensus and creating a unified structure that brings the decision-making power of business and technology together.

Some of you may already take an active role in helping business and IT reach common ground, but for some of you this is a sea change. So, over the coming months, you'll see some subtle changes to our editorial lineup that reflect our commitment to your success. Our goal is to continue to provide you with the critical information necessary for you to make sound business decisions that allow you to best execute your company's technology-centered business strategies.

Making the business case for your technology requirements doesn't require a crystal ball. It requires you to be able to identify the business issues that drive your organization's ability to remain competitive so you can anticipate change, improve your processes, optimize communication to your stakeholders, and create and maintain a proactive approach to successful management.

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