These days, information technology touches just about every important business decision. Yet most IT professionals remain stuck in an IT backwater, out of the loop for most corporate issues. Ask yourself, How many IT professionals do you know who successfully made the leap to line management?If you worked at Canada's Clarica Life Insurance Co., the answer would be “lots.” Clarica's roster of key business officers is peppered with former IT folk. The vice presidents of group administration, human resources and marketing, as well as the director of quality business all began their careers as IT professionals. Six of Clarica's 16-person top-management team have IT backgrounds.Clarica's success incorporating IT pros into business management is the subject of a February 2001 white paper, “Creating Advantage With Information Technology.” The authors are Blaize Horner Reich, professor of information technology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Michelle Lynn Kaarst-Brown of the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond in Virginia. Reich says the advantages of Clarica's approach include “faster innovation, faster deployment of new technologies, better utilization of existing technologies, and staff retention.