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The equivalent of a production line for financial institutions is their IT department – it is the “assembly” line of products that make up the front, middle and back office of the business.

Traditionally insurance company profitability was dictated by the capabilities of their back office, and that was one of the first places that IT made its impact.

This is now changing.

Web and now mobile are the technical drivers of change in front office. The business drivers are that customers expect to be able to access their data, and do transaction anywhere, anytime. They also have learned from Apple and Facebook that technology needs to be easy to understand, access and use.

Big data and IT of Things are the technical drivers of change in the middle office. Gathering and analyzing the data needed for better risk and customer management are making the middle office a new source of profitability of insurance companies. New business models and regulation are the business drivers. Example is MetLife partnership with GM.

These trends are driving a move to agile and DevOps in insurance. Insurance will need to move to front office’s that are more like Facebook and Google – interfaces that change on a daily basis to better serve customers. Even more importantly the ability to quickly and painlessly deploy application means that insurance companies can quickly try out new ideas.

Along with the ability to leverage big data the middle office will also need to leverage agile and DevOps to keep pace with front office changes.