Electronic Chat: Lance Fisk
Robert Regis Hyle | April 24, 2014
The Electronic Chat is a regular feature of ITA Pro magazine and ITApro.org. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader looking for thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
This month’s electronic Chat is with Lance Fisk, Chief Operating Officer-Technology, with the Willis Group Holdings, a global risk advisor, insurance, and reinsurance broker. With roots dating to 1828, Willis operates today on every continent with more than 17,000 employees in over 400 offices.
Fisk has 22 years of progressive global management experience in: technology operations and finance, manufacturing operations, financial systems administration, financial services including public accounting (he is an active CPA), strategic onshore and offshore partnerships and sourcing. program leadership, and workforce management and development.
What is the biggest leadership challenge you face in IT and how are you dealing with it?
Fisk: The biggest challenge we face today is transitioning our technology organization from one focused on the direct provision of legacy technology services to one focused on service management, innovation, and becoming a true value-add business partner.
This requires not only changes in culture and mindset but also a reconfiguration and up-skilling of our current workforce. In the last couple of years our company has had a couple of high profile wins in the innovation space and we want to ensure that we maintain a constant focus in this area.
We recently conducted a global technology skills Inventory focused on emerging and differentiating technologies. As a result of that survey we are currently working on several initiatives that will provide our workforce the skills and tools to meet a changing business demand. We are building a technology knowledge center that will provide communities for collaboration and learning. We are also creating a new advanced solutions service function focused solely on emerging technologies.
Which technologies do you feel are underutilized in the industry today?
Fisk: One area that we are focusing on is mobility. Given our industry is highly dependent on human interaction, connection, and collaboration, the ability to produce on-demand analytics and “what if” scenarios is critical. We have historically restricted non-approved devices and applications but need to reevaluate that position. We can no longer absolutely restrict tools that have the potential to add value to our business partners. We are working in areas such as device management to allow our business partners to work on the go with the tools they need and still protect critical company data.
What steps is Willis taking to attract and prepare young IT workers for a career in insurance IT?
Fisk: We have revived our graduate internship program to attract and retain young IT talent. In today’s technology environment, a lot of the ideas that are making an impact are coming from the younger generation that has yet to even enter the workforce. By combining these inquisitive minds with seasoned mentors we believe we can harness the power that these young minds can bring to an organization.
Are you satisfied with the connection between the business side and IT? If not, what steps are being taken to improve this?
Fisk: We have historically done a good job of maintaining critical business systems and developing and supporting the apps that run our business. That part of the connection with the business has been consistently good. However, we are mostly viewed as a technology organization that “keeps the engine running” more so than one that innovates and brings new ideas to the table. That is the perception that we are working to change.
At the end of the day, what is your greatest worry?
Fisk: My greatest concern is that as a technology organization we won’t be flexible and agile enough to meet the changing business demands of the future. I do take comfort in the fact that we realize there is a challenge and it is a primary focus for us. We are taking aggressive actions to drive value through technology solutions.
- It's National IT Professionals Day
- Save the Date for ITA-LIVE 2019
- OneShield Software and UrbanStat Work Together to Improve Real-Time Analytics and Risk Decision-Making
- ITA LIVE 2019 - SAVE THE DATE!
- Insurance Technology Association Announces New Editor-in-Chief
- August 2018 Edition ITA Pro Magazine is Now Available
- Enterprise Architecture in an Agile World
- Top 10 Tips for Securing Your Mobile Devices and Sensitive Client Data
- Industry Insight: 4 Global Insurance Trends in Digital, Data, Content Services and Security
- Diving Deeper into Prioritizing Your Strategic Digital investments
- Why Content Rules
- How Mass Personalization Will Open the Small Business Benefits Market
- At Year End 2017, Will Your Organization Be Protected from Cyber Risks?
- Do Insurance Bots Dream of Mitigating Risk?
- Conditioned to Respond
- Managing & Mobilizing Insurance Data in a Connected World
- Race to the Finish Line
- New Tools, New Opportunities in Claims
- ITA LIVE: Reaching Insurance Industry Crossroads
- Advice to Insurance IT Leaders: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
- New Date, Venue for ITA LIVE 2017
- Guidewire Makes Major Push to Small and Midtier Market by Acquiring ISCS
- Insurance Disruption is Happening Right Now
- Insurity Adds Strategic Investment Partner, General Atlantic
- Beyond Transformation: The Convergence of Finance, Risk, and Actuarial Functions
- The Rapid Evolution of Consumer Protection Regulation
- Talent Hunt: Finding, Attracting, Retaining Top People
- Insurers Flexing Their Distribution Models
- Technology Driving Disruption in Insurance
- Fear of ‘Next Bubble’ Challenges Life, Annuity Carriers
- Technology Allows Commercial Lines Insurers to Stand Out
- Single Sign-on Viewed as Biggest Tech Challenge for Agencies
- ISCS Observes 20th Anniversary; Scurto Predicts Major Changes Ahead
- Policyholders and Their First Impressions
- Progressive Making Progress on the UBI Front
- High and Dry: Insurers Search for Disaster Recovery Plans
- Insurers Sign The (Un)Dotted Line
- Reflections of a Retired Insurance CIO
- Mobile Device Management Just One Answer to BYOD Issue
- Lessons from GEICO and Progressive on Winning the Critical Buying Stage
- You Are a Target for a Cyber Attack
- Web-based Systems are the Next Evolution in Claims Technology
- Gaining a “Wow” Experience from Web Users
- Time to Shift from Business/IT Alignment to Business/IT Alliance
- Healthcare Insurers Changing to Consumer Model
- Organization is the Key for Selecting Software Vendors
- Analysts Expound on the Needs of the Mid-tier Insurance Market
- Finding the Cure for Obamacare’s Website
- New Software Solutions Benefit Insurers on the Inside and Outside
- Products, Market Impede Investment in Systems for Life Insurers
- Combatting Cyber Threats: Predict, Prevent, Persist
- The Future of Telematics Heads Beyond Insurance
- The Shame in Cyber Security Lapses
- Building Policy Administration Systems for the Future
- Insurers Look Into The Eyes of Their Policyholders
- It’s a New Dawn for the ITA
INSURANCE IT NEWS
- Nationwide launches easy, online insurance platform for business owners with fewer than five employees
- InsureTech Connect 2018 Pre-Conference Workshop to Focus on Customer Acquisition
- HazardHub named as EIA 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year.
- Insurers Leveraging Digital and Analytics-Driven Claims Capabilities to Improve Customer Perception and Results, Says Novarica
- Slice ICS Customer Announces Go-Live of First Digital Insurance Product
- Personal Lines Carriers Focus on Digitalization of Processes, Products, and Consumers, Says Novarica
- Messagepoint Integrates SparkPost with its Leading Customer Communications Management (CCM) Platform
- Insurers Seeing InsureTech as Opportunity More than Threat, Says Novarica
The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
ITA is pleased to present the 2014 Webinar Series. We have many topics for you to choose from and attendance is open to all ITA members. The webinar topics are current and exciting — ranging from predictive analytics to telematics and will focus on the direction insurance carriers need to follow for the future. All webinars are presented by insurance IT professionals along with some of the leading analysts and consultants in the field. There is no cost to attend an ITA webinar. For more information and to register for the webinar, click the “title” of the webinar below.
BLOGS AND COLUMNS
The Insurance Technology Association is pleased to announce that ITA Live 2019 is scheduled for May 5-7, 2019 at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and... READ MORE
It has become a common refrain over the past few years to view the practice of enterprise architecture (EA) as something that time has passed by, much... READ MORE
You have surely heard it said that small businesses are the growth engine for America. Today, the phrase has a special ring to it for benefits... READ MORE
With stagnant growth and lingering low interest rates, the life insurance industry faces a challenging future... READ MORE
Finding insurance carriers willing to write commercial lines risks has always been a challenge for producers... READ MORE
As Guidewire Software prepares for the start of Connections, its 11th annual user conference that begins on Nov. 2, Brian Desmond, chief marketing... READ MORE
Fraud detection has always been and will continue to be a critical component of claims management. Learning the lessons from current claims Straight... READ MORE
- Vendor Views