I spoke recently with my friend Jim Knight, EVP and Global CIO at the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, the nation’s 11th largest property and casualty insurer. Chubb’s roots as a company extend 125 years into the past, but when Jim and I spoke, we focused on the future. From Jim’s perspective, the future is more than just bright – it’s brilliant!
“Moore’s Law is still in effect and the cost of technology continues to drop,” says Jim. “When you factor in trends such as miniaturization, consumerization, cloud, mobile, and social, you can see that we’re in the midst of a revolution that is unlike any revolution of the past. This revolution is feeding itself – and it’s going to keep on going for a long time.”
The incredibly swift pace of change and transformation puts the CIO in a truly unique position. In a continuing technology revolution, the knowledge, expertise, and experience of the CIO and the IT team can bring incalculable value to the enterprise.
“Fifteen years ago, you could ask someone to describe what technology would look like three years in the future,” says Jim. “Today, you just can’t look that far ahead. You cannot predict with any reasonable accuracy what will be happening three years from now.”
That being said, there’s plenty of opportunity on the horizon. “There are lots of trees out there with fruit that’s ready to be picked, and lots of trees with fruit that still ripening,” says Jim. “This is a gift that keeps giving.”
You have to know which opportunities are ready for harvesting. That’s where the CIO’s knowledge can be invaluable. Some technologies can provide temporary advantages, while others can offer long-term benefits. Chubb, for example, is using advanced data analytics to create new value from its extensive database. “Applying some of the newer analytics to our data creates a unique advantage for us in the market,” says Jim. “This is something that our competitors cannot do because they don’t have the kind of data that we have.”
I especially like how Jim sees the future as a place of boundless opportunity and how he sees the role of the CIO becoming even more relevant as information technology continues advancing. It certainly makes sense to me that as the technology become more complex, powerful and sophisticated, companies will need senior-level executives who understand the opportunities and benefits of forward-looking IT strategies. That’s why I echo Jim’s sentiment that now is the perfect time to be a CIO.