When Mike Mead joined CNO Financial Group as CIO in 2018, he inherited an IT organization that was welcoming and highly skilled but had some misalignments with its primary outsourcing partner. “We are heavily outsourced, and there were frustrations on both sides of the relationship,” says Mead.

Silos within the internal CNO IT organization caused some challenges as well. “We had some hard boundaries between applications, infrastructure, and security,” explained Mead. “It wasn’t that those groups couldn’t work together, but we did not have a cohesive culture across all of them.”

With the toll that COVID was taking on the middle-income Americans who are CNO’s policyholders, senior management saw a real need to accelerate the delivery of new products to the market, and to expand their direct-to-consumer channel, all of which put increasing pressure on IT. “As a business, we needed to react faster than in the past. The big ask from our CEO was: ‘How quickly can we deploy new products to our customers?’” says Mead.

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