Insurance industry CIOs know that modernizing and consolidating legacy applications is a key strategy for streamlining channels and improving efficiency. According to the latest Forrester Research "State of Enterprise Software: 2009" survey of more than 2,200 IT professionals, modernization is the No. 1 priority across many industries. But with more than 68% of all software projects failing to deliver, according to the latest 2009 Standish Group CHAOS Report, how can insurance industry IT leaders make sure these projects come in on time, on budget and with all the features needed by employees, brokers and customers?

The case for modernization is clear. At least 80% of most IT budgets are dedicated to just "keeping the lights on." This "IT dial tone" has been a perennial problem as CIOs try to innovate, but in a recession this maintenance cost can act like a boat anchor that forces very unpleasant trade-offs.

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