Insurance CIOs report that the emerging mix of legacy and Web systems in their enterprises creates a set of integration challenges that dominate their list of IT priorities. Not only are these integration challenges technically demanding, they're becoming increasingly critical to the business of insurance.Spending on enterprise application integration (EAI) in the insurance sector reflects growing levels of commitment to achieve legacy-to-Web integration. Gartner Dataquest forecasts that worldwide spending on EAI-related services in the insurance sector is poised to grow from $654 million in 2000 to more than $1.7 billion in 2005.

Insurance executives say it's common to maintain legacy systems that date back years or even several decades. Yet the challenges of electronic business-and of competition from investment companies and banks-have created heightened interest in purchasing packaged applications, particularly electronic business and customer self-service applications that use Internet technology.

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