Great technology tools may help a public exchange grow in the short term, but knowing the customer base and business well enough to make the right investments is critical to an exchange becoming sustainable and successful in the long run.

Acknowledging that state-run exchanges launched quickly with a lot of competing priorities amid a substantial policy debate, Philip Poley, managing director at Accenture, said now is the time for exchange heads to understand what business they are in. Technology will not bail the exchanges out, but effective management will, he said at a HIX policy conference in Washington Tuesday.

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