Agility and Risk Management at Pacific Life: Optimizing Business Unit Autonomy

CISR Working Paper No. 372

MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4692-08

18 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2008

See all articles by Jeanne W. Ross

Jeanne W. Ross

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Information Systems Research (CISR)

Cynthia Beath

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management

Date Written: December 2007

Abstract

Pacific Life is a diversified financial services company with a history of autonomous business units. Pacific Life had five independent divisions, including Life Insurance, Annuities and Mutual Funds, and Investments. These divisions served different customers and responded to different regulatory and market requirements. Pacific Life executives embrace decentralization as the best structure for capturing excellence in the individual businesses, so they are willing to sacrifice some potential efficiencies. But while they are usually willing to forego the benefits of a more centralized organization structure, they are not willing to assume any unnecessary risks. This case describes how the company governs shared IT services and enterprise risk management to limit its risk exposure while reaping the benefits of decentralization.

Keywords: agility, risk, shared services, IT governance

Suggested Citation

Ross, Jeanne W. and Beath, Cynthia, Agility and Risk Management at Pacific Life: Optimizing Business Unit Autonomy (December 2007). CISR Working Paper No. 372; MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4692-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1114796 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1114796

Jeanne W. Ross (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) ( email )

Sloan School of Management
5 Cambridge Center, NE25-777
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-9461 (Phone)
617-253-4424 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://cisr.mit.edu

Cynthia Beath

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management ( email )

CBA 5.202
Austin, TX 78712
United States

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