Ian Cohen has been Group CIO with financial services firm JLT for four years. He was ranked number two in the 2013 CIO 100 for his transformation of JLT into a social information enabled business.

Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group is a leading British-based global insurance and re-insurance and benefits consulting business.

What the judges said:

“If a CIO is a role model for CIOs and what a CIO can do, they deserve to remain in the top quadrant.” Ade McCormack

“CIOs like Cohen that have all the right attributes of operational strength, communications and transformation,” Ian Cox

“He’s transforming a traditional insurance business and I think what he’s done by creating a collaborative culture and the use of agile, open source and start up providers has enabled them to embed their digital program and support this major merger,” Mike Altendorf

When did you start your current role?

Order the following sources of advice/information by value to you:

  1. Peer Group 
  2. Analyst
  3. In-house
  4. Consultant
  5. Vendors

Technology strategy and spending

What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
JLT Insight - global digital /social tranformation programme

Acquisition of Towers Watson's ReInsurance business (valued at some $400m and acquired for $250m)  in Q3/413 making JLT The 4th largest reinsurance company in the world - overnight.

What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
The Towers Re acquisition is the biggest purchase JLT has made in its history and represents a genuine moment of transformation for the company and the global reinsurance broking market.

The newly combined business has revenues of US$266m (£166m) and operations in 17 global locations. JLT now employs over 9,000 people and the share consistently trades at £10 mark (iro 5000 people and £4.50 when I joined back in 2009).

The other big transformational activities in 2013 were the continued success of the Insight program - particularly around social and collaboration where we have over 7000 staff on Salesforce Chatter with market leading engagement rates. Given our total population is only 9000 that’s quite extraordinary, as is the quality of the conversations.

What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
Most organisations are using just 20% of the technology they already have. So a CIO role is about maximising the technology you already have. That said, we have struck class leading deals with Salesforce, Vodafone and Oracle.

Name your strategic technology suppliers?
HCL (UK infrastructure outsource inc. EMC, Cisco, Cable & Wireless), Microsoft, Oracle,  Vodafone, Salesforce, Qlikview

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
Everything we do is orientated to deliver JLT's key strategic goals of being client first, knowledge led and speciality driven. Thus the technology agenda will be one of enabling a truly connected, collaborative and global organisation

Transformation achievements

Would you describe the CIO role as a transformation leader in your organisation?

Describe the transformations you have led / been involved in, how did they transform operations, customer experience or the organisation?
In the past two and a half years JLT has undergone the a fundamental transformation enabled through the Global Insight program that puts CRM, Interprative analytics (Big Data), publishing and collaboration at the heart of everything we do.

The Towers Re acquisition is a market transforming event and is led and enabled by JLT's technology executive. The nature of this acquisition is characterised by our client first, knowledge led, specialty driven imperatives and the committtment to our connected, collaborative and global approach.

Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
There are no IT transformation programs only business ones

What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
As above - CRM, Interpritive Analytics, Collabotaion and Publishing technologies

How is the use by employees of their own technology, use of mobiles and social networking impacting operations, customer experiences or the organisation at present?
All of these items are fully embraced at JLT

Do you have a plan in place for how to deal with shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives, place the right controls around employee choice and engage with the organisation on this issue?
Shadow IT and BYOD are not issues in JLT. The former does not exist as cross division, cross OpCo, and cross geography collaboration is actively encouraged. We  embrace an approach where we actively enable and offer staff the devices and solutiuons solutions that best suit the way they wish to work.

Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
Customers, colleagues and peers

The CIO role in the business

Who do they report to?
Group COO and ExeCo

Does the CIO have a seat on the board?

How often do you meet with the CEO?
At any time

Does your organisation have a digital leader and what is the difference in their responsibilities to yours?
No - its the CIO's remit

How many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?
Over 9000