The Future of Insurance E-Business Groups

Many insurers are cutting their e-business groups. Celent urges them to avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water. These groups can and must be reconstituted to deal with key technological issues which must be coordinated centrally if yet more disastrous “legacy” problems are to be avoided.

Due to a combination of budgetary pressures and the extension of e-business skills and responsibilities throughout the enterprise, many insurance carriers are cutting the dedicated “e-business” groups that they had formed just a few years ago to help them ramp up for the Web economy. In a new report, The Future of Insurance E-Business Groups, Celent Communications urges carriers to replace their functional “design, build, maintain” e-business groups with central “strategic knowledge management” groups to ensure coordination, inter-operability, and maximum efficiency among disparate Web projects.

“While it is no longer necessary to have a dedicated group directly engaged in building Web projects, carriers that do not devote resources to enterprise-wide coordination will quickly find themselves facing a new breed of legacy systems problem�incompatible and badly organized Web infrastructure,” says Matthew Josefowicz, author of the report and manager of Celent�s insurance group. “Carriers should focus on central coordination for five key areas: strategy, education, usability, security, and standardization.”

In order to achieve the goals of knowledge sharing and coordination in these five areas, Celent recommends that insurers keep three things in mind when designing their e-business organization:

  1. ensuring CEO sponsorship and active support,
  2. creating the right incentives to get cooperation from business and IT staffs, and
  3. staffing e-business groups with high-level experts.

The report includes a survey of 10 top-tier insurance e-business groups, which illustrates the very different ways e-business is currently managed, and the challenges these groups face.

A Table of Contents is available online.

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