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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

March - 2011 - issue > CIO Insights

Giving Technology Assurance to the Insurance Business

Jaya Smitha Menon
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Jaya Smitha Menon
Guru Vasudeva, is the SVP and CIO of Nationwide. As the CIO, Vasudeva provides IT leadership and support for a number of property and casualty (P&C) businesses including Nationwide Direct, Allied Insurance, Scottsdale Insurance, Titan Insurance, and Nationwide AgriBusiness at Nationwide Enterprises, a $20 billion revenue financial services and insurance company.

Nationwide is one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world, focusing on domestic property and casualty insurance, life insurance and retirement savings, asset management and strategic investments. Vasudeva has about 17 years of experience in the IT industry. He holds an MBA from the University of Cincinnati and an Engineering degree in Computer Science from the University of Mysore, India. He is also co-author of the book, Patterns for e-Business – A Strategy for Reuse.

In an industry like ours, the role of technology is critical because it is driven by rich information. Everything is automated and our products come with a promise that we will deliver/ take care of the customer, be it an auto accident case or a home insurance or so. At the end of the day, our customers look at our website, our service, bill, call centre response to evaluate us. Here technology plays a critical role and today any project or initiative we undertake has a strong technology element to it and the company recognizes and appreciates this fact.

Emerging Trends
In this type of industry, the kind of trends that I see emerging are more towards packaged applications. Financial services industry traditionally worked on custom package development applications, but now the inclination is towards package applications, cloud offerings, software as a service and similar new trends. In fact these technologies are maturing and becoming more feasible for even large companies like ours. Today instead of managing servers and applications, oneneeds to manage the SLAs (Service level agreements) with the SaaS and cloud services providers.

Another shift is in some of the technologies that we use in the Internet, intranet or call centres. These technologies are increasingly componentized and are becoming available in hosted way. Not only industry specific applications are becoming available as SaaS but components like web metrics and search capabilities are also available in small packages. Even applications used to correlate call between internet, call centre and IVR systems are becoming available on hosted web.

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