The past year, 2015, has certainly been interesting for insurance IT executives and professionals. We saw “consumerization” – the application of many consumer-side technologies – continue to sweep through organizations. The older ways of managing IT shops – maintaining centralized systems and pumping out reports to business users – have continued to be swept away by a new mode – digital everywhere, all the time.

Over the next few weeks, you’re likely to read and hear many analyses of the year we are wrapping up. But Dion Hinchliffe, known for having a sixth sense of what’s bubbling beneath the surface of business technology, hits the nail on the head as always.  Here is are his views of what’s been important to IT leaders this year (along with some of my own notes).

“CIOs have many investment priorities, but marketing, digital business, and customer experience will top the list.” IT leaders need to be outward-looking, and move away from their traditional roles administering systems and overseeing code development. IT leaders and their departments are drawing ever closer to direct engagement with their organizations’ ultimate customers, as well as their own internal customers.

 “A new competitor/colleague for the CIO is rapidly being created in many organizations.” More chief digital officer positions are being created, and chief marketing officers are getting just as much budget dollars for technologies as CIOs. IT leaders need to partner with this emerging business tech leadership class.

 “The rapid growth in scale and complexity of marketing IT poses a CIO challenge.” As noted above, the CMO has become an IT leader as well. “The purview of the CIO over the marketing technology space in many organizations will become an ongoing issue to manage and control as CMOs prefer to make their own technology decisions,” Hinchliffe states.

 “Industry leadership in the Internet of Things is not yet established.” This is still a field on flux. While just about every vendor on the planet now claims to have IoT-ready solutions, no one is on top of their game just yet in this new frontier.

“Cybersecurity will be a threat in all new vectors like Internet of Things, mobile, and in new, as-yet unknown vectors.” Everyone will still be worried about security, and IoT, with its massive proliferation of devices, will multiply the threats – and fears.

“Mobile payments will become a key source of corporate revenue.” The insurance industry may be behind the curve on this one, with much of its revenues still streaming in by regular snail mail. Many customers would prefer the convenience of paying online, and, increasingly, simply swiping payments via their mobiles. Accordingly, CIOs “will need to invest in payment infrastructure and mobile payment security, including new payment touchpoints that support NFC and wireless,” Hinchcliffe says.

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