Where Are They Now? Catching Up With the 2011 Elite 8

As mobile and digital technologies continue to reshape banking, we caught up with some of the 2011 Elite 8 to see how the changing expectations of consumers, employees and partners are transforming their focus.
September 28, 2012

Richard Ferrara, Chief Technology Officer, Woodforest National Bank (The Woodlands, Texas)

When Richard Ferrara, CTO of Woodforest National Bank, was named an Elite 8 honoree in 2011, he was working to virtualize the bank's data center, with the goal of minimizing disaster recovery issues and ensuring business continuity during hurricane season. The plan called for a primary data center in the bank's headquarters and a colocation facility in Austin.

In the past year, Ferrara's group has focused on replacing the storage area network at both data centers. This year, after the SAN refresh, he says, he'll focus more on the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend and connectivity. Among the most exciting efforts, according to Ferrara, is an initiative to refresh branch design, which will follow a phased approach. "We're looking at building a concept lab in our building," he reports. "The new branch design will include technology -- more customer interaction with multimedia and kiosks and things like that."

In addition, Ferrara will reevaluate the banks' virtualization strategy on the server level. "We're still pushing for virtualized desktops along with virtualizing the application with Microsoft App-V," he notes. And he'll work to strengthen the bank's database architecture and business intelligence. "We're moving forward with a newer version of [Microsoft] SQL and seeing what that will do for us as well," he says.

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