The Network Effect


The Network EffectWe live in an increasingly complex world, where technology moves with breathtaking speed and the ability to access knowledge and insights quickly can make all the difference in achieving operational success. Almost 30 years on, it is interesting to reflect on IBM CEO Lou Gerstner’s framing of the critical nature of the network when contemplating the future. In effect, he foresaw what would become the internet as we know it today. 

The concept of network computing was a preview to what we now see as cloud-based computing, which allows for a completely different kind of collaboration and information sharing than would have been possible to truly contemplate a decade ago.

Of course, “networking” also has significant implications for all manner of human interactions. Being able to find the right people, with the right knowledge and experience, can dramatically accelerate all manner of activities for IT organizations. There’s no need to recreate new science if there’s a way to access insights and concepts that others have already explored and codified. In reality, building on the insights of others is a remarkably efficient way of increasing organizational productivity, developing new products, or expanding into new markets.

Recently, on a video call with one of our Research Council members where we were ostensibly discussing the merits of cloud computing for core system environments, I happened to notice a picture of a 1950s sports car on the wall behind him. I casually asked about the photo and correctly identified it as a very rare specimen, clearly surprising someone that I’ve known professionally for more than a decade. 

A few minutes later, we realized that we had many shared personal experiences, including time at racetracks as diverse as Watkins Glen (NY), Lime Rock (CT), and Virginia International Raceway. By the time we were done, I’d volunteered to become part of his pit crew for an endurance race to be run at some point in the not-too-distant future. An accidental conversation about a picture was worth much more than the proverbial 1,000 words.

Being open to these types of conversations can take us to unexpected places and allow us to gain new insights in surprising ways. As a case in point, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with three different CIOs in the past week about AI and machine learning in the life insurance underwriting space. 

Part of my advice was that they all join the Aite-Novarica Group for our Research Council meeting in Las Vegas on September 20th. Now? All three will be there, ensuring a fast drive into conversations on this and many other critical topics impacting the industry as part of our first in-person Council meeting since 2019. Speed thrills, on and off the track. Let’s roll for Las Vegas!

Have questions about our Insurance CIO Council Meeting in Las Vegas? Reach out to me at [email protected].