Surveying the IT Universe
Microsoft CFO Peter Klein weighs in on the host of transformational
technologies impacting insurance operations.
As the IT landscape changes in dramatic ways, there are few companies more intertwined in the fabric of data centers than Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp. Insurance Networking News’ senior
editor, Bill Kenealy, sat down with Microsoft CFO Peter
Klein to get his take on where things are headed and
on how insurers can leverage emerging technologies
and trends such as cloud computing to competitive
INN: For a long time, IT was viewed as a cost center.
How can insurers leverage IT as a strategic asset?
PK: The stock in trade of the insurance industry is information, so the notion of IT as anything but a strategic asset makes very little sense. In fact, our research
shows that attracting the next generation of customers—and employees—will increasingly rely on innovative use of technology.
For instance, solutions such as unified communications, which bring voice, e-mail, instant messaging
and video conferencing together, enable companies to
replace traditional phone and voice mail systems, giving employees the ability to easily and seamlessly collaborate.
Virtualization enables workloads to move between
on-site datacenters and the cloud so IT managers can
get scale without sacrificing control. Windows 7 Enterprise gives insurers tools to handle the challenges of
today’s client computing by optimizing desktop infrastructure, making users more productive anywhere,
managing risk by enhancing security and control, and
reducing costs by streamlining PC management. These
are just a few examples of how technology has the
power to transform the insurance business.
Moreover, as the global economy recovers, meaningful
growth will come from investments in innovation and IT
will increasingly encompass a more strategic function in
“Cloud is not just the latest fad in IT.
It is truly disruptive technology.”
—Peter Klein, CFO, Microsoft