Transformation Requires Preparation And Caution

Hype and conjecture are usually associated with emerging technologies. Yet there's always a chance that something new will revolutionize the way we do business.
Corporate Directive

What has been your company's business-technology strategy in the past 12 months?

Achieving cost savings and process efficiency sometimes requires taking a leadership position. Take Ohio Casualty's use of the Single Entry Multiple Company Interface. The insurance industry, which primarily markets through an independent agent distribution channel, is facing challenges on how to improve agent workflow. The interface allows agents to enter information in their agency system, and have that system communicate to other carriers' systems. Notes Kellington: "Our systems position Ohio Casualty to be one of the SEMCI leaders."

Corporate Directive

Business Support

How much of your company's IT budget is spent on consulting services and outsourcing?

"Insurance, specifically commercial insurance, is a high-touch business that leverages relationships that have been cultivated for years," Kellington says. "We currently leverage external firms in many areas of our company, primarily in staff augmentation modes, but I don't think we would ever outsource critical processes."On average, companies spend 10% of their IT budgets on tech-consulting services and outsourcing, according to InformationWeek Research's quarterly Priorities report.

Business Support

Hiring Plans

What is your company's IT hiring situation?

The job market isn't rebounding as quickly as analysts expected. What career advice does Kellington have for IT professionals? "I'm a strong believer in two major qualities that every individual should improve," he says. "The first is the skills that qualify the person for the position; the second is the approach the person utilizes. High skill levels in a technical role or managerial role are absolutely imperative in our business."

Hiring Plans

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Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing