Posts Tagged IT

Actuaries and Web 2.0 in 2010

Risk 2.0 has been a little quiet lately. I’ve been immersed in several projects. One of them just culminated in a trip to New York City to attend the 2010 Society of Actuaries Annual Meeting.

I was part of a panel that presented a session called “The Actuarial Technology Perfect Storm.” In the session, we discussed a model for creating a better working relationship between actuaries and IT professionals. Our goal was to point out that while a disintegrated actuarial-IT structure may work okay today, it’s not sustainable given the rapidly changing technological demands on actuarial work.

Our findings were based on a survey of actuaries that we’ve conducted the past three years. In 2009, we introduced a question on Web 2.0. The question asked respondents to indicate their awareness and implementation of seven Web 2.0 technologies:

  • Crowdsourcing
  • Social Networks
  • Dynamic Documentation
  • Wikis
  • Instant Messaging
  • Collaborative Product/ Service Design
  • Blogs

Awareness and implementation increased across the board in 2010. However, it’s clear that actuaries are still very much in a discovery phase with Web 2.0.

Instant messaging, blogs, and social networks were the most recognized Web 2.0 technologies in the survey. Roughly 90% of respondents had heard of each of them. They were also among the most highly implemented to date. 30% had implemented instant messaging, 11% blogs, and 8% social networks.

In my mind, the Web 2.0 tool that would provide the biggest immediate benefit to actuaries is the wiki, which is an ideal way to openly store documentation and procedures for easy access. Wikis were recognized by 73% of actuaries in 2010 (a healthy increase of 16% over 2009). But only 10% had implemented a wiki in their work.

If you’ve implemented any of these technologies or want to know more about them, let me know.

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Risk 2.0 – The week in links 9/17/2010

  • If you view all social media users as the same, you may want to rethink that. Terri Goveia discusses the concept of “connectors.” These are highly influential individuals whose actions shape the decisions of nearly three quarters of the consumer population. Finding them in social networks is probably a good idea.
  • It can be hard to sell anything new to the C-suite. Social media author and expert Erik Qualman lists 3 reasons CEOs hate social media, but he also provides 3 reasons they can learn to love it.
  • John Hagel III and John Seely Brown outline six fundamental shifts in the way we work. I think social media and collaborative technologies will provide the foundation for significant changes in the workplace in the coming decades.

The collaboration curve helps explain the rise of network-centric efforts ranging from open source software development to “crowdsourcing” to “creation spaces.” In nearly all of these group efforts, rapid leaps in performance improvement arise as participants get better faster by working with others.

A new study from Pew Internet found that between April 2009 and May 2010, social networking site usage grew 88% among Internet users aged 55-64, and the 65 and older group’s social networking presence grew 100% in the same time frame.

  • Ted Schadler wrote a very interesting piece on IT in the age of the empowered employee. I think IT is now faced with an immense challenge in the typical enterprise. They have to take on the role of security guard, mechanic, and increasingly they have to identify when it’s in the company’s best interests to stay hands off.  In my view, the world of IT is becoming more complex because technology is no longer just another “department” or “tool” in the business. It’s everything, and it’s everywhere. It’s work; it’s play; it’s communication. All these things are blurring into one thing: life.

It’s enough to imagine the sort of future where a pharmaceutical company’s algorithms can read through your Outlook calendar, notice no one accepts your meetings, sees your Facebook status updates seem to indicate a level of frustration, and sends you an offer for a free sample of the latest anti-depressant.

  • It’s official. Announcing that you’re not home on Facebook will get you robbed – at least in the state of New Hampshire.
  • Still think Twitter is a fad? Check out the latest growth chart. 90 million tweets per day. It’s getting loud out there. Are you listening?

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