Information Security and Governance Will Be Key For Cloud-Based and Mobility Opportunities

John Itokazu, Chief Information and Operations Officer, Union Bank

John Itokazu, Chief Information and Operations Officer, Union Bank

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2014

The demand for technology continues to accelerate. Today, people see immediate value in what technology can do for them and they expect immediate results. Keeping up with this demand, integrating technology solutions into the environment, managing and controlling the data while strengthening our governance and compliance and keeping our costs low–that is our challenge. Customer expectations, Lines Of Business (LOB), and regulators have converged to require a more integrated approach to everything we do. The regulatory environment has become more challenging as agencies look for technology to play an increasing role in risk mitigation and ensuring compliance.

Solutions that would make my job easier

Information security and overall governance are on top of mind for all CIOs in today’s banking industry. Those who would do us harm have moved from stealing checks to becoming highly sophisticated technology infiltrators. They are stealing money and they are stealing our data and then selling it, creating more crime. All of this presents huge reputational risk to the institution.

Trends impacting enterprise business environment

Two trends are cloud-based technologies and mobility. The cloud brings promises of reducing the cost structure through flexibility and scalability, and improving time-to-market for products and services. Mobility continues to take center stage. Mobile devices are proliferating among our customers, and expectations are rapidly expanding in using them to conduct their banking transactions. And, workplace mobility–will contribute to greater flexibility and productivity for our employees. Information security and governance will  play an important role as these trends continue.

"We can no longer distinguish between technology and the business because they have become so harmonious"

Changing Role of CIOs

We can no longer distinguish between technology and the business because they have become so harmonious. This has created a higher level of expectation for functionality and speed to market, and it makes us an integral part of the business rather than a team in the background creating solutions in a reactive way. Clearly, the pace has changed. The role has evolved from developing code and running computers behind the scenes to moving out into the businesses to better understand why and how business operates and to collaborate with them. It’s similar to a physician who is truly an expert in his or her field but is limited by his or her lack of bedside manner and, therefore, not very effective.

Lessons learned and advice to fellow CIOs

Communication skills are essential. It’s also important for leaders to understand the value of their teams and help them to understand the businesses they are enabling. It’s important that we invest in the development of our teams as we continue to evolve the critical role all of us play in the growth and profitability of the enterprise. While we have been talking about technology, we have to remember that success or failure hinges on the skills and expertise of the people involved. We must support them and never lose sight of this critical dimension.

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