October 11, 2013

It would be an understatement to say that the job of chief information officer is a difficult one. It would not be an understatement to say that the job is becoming even harder in many ways -- much more complex and wide-ranging in terms of responsibilities and expectations.

[Banking Transformation: How Do We Get There?]

Not so long ago those running bank technology organizations (or organizations reliant on technology, such as marketing and customer insights) spent most of their time on areas such as systems integration, managing transactions and ensuring data integrity. Those types of build, run and maintain responsibilities have by no means vanished from technology executives' job descriptions, but now they must be juggled along with a wide and changing array of imperatives, including talent development, digital interactions, forecasting and change management.

The adage that "change is a fact of life" in many ways summarizes the most important requirement of today's bank CIOs and their peers across senior management. Their job is to anticipate technology, market and regulatory upheaval and enable their organizations to effectively respond to these changes. Wharton School professor Michael Useem told McKinsey Publishing in a 2012 interview: "If we were talking about leadership 10 years ago or 15 years ago -- when the markets were more predictable, less uncertain -- we wouldn't have been talking in the same way about comeback, resilience and standing strong when conditions are tough."

Challenges Accepted

Leading an organization in this era of seemingly perpetual upheaval or crisis, where customer preferences are a moving target and the competition may be a company you've never heard of, has stymied many technology executives who can't find the balance between resilience and vision. Fortunately for the banking industry, there also are noteworthy and accomplished professionals who embrace these challenges. Among them are Bank Systems & Technology's 2013 Elite 8 honorees — eight outstanding bank executives, representing global organizations, community banks and virtual institutions, who are driving their companies' growth through the innovative and savvy use of technology.

Whether they are overseeing the integration of systems following a merger, finding ways to apply advanced analytics to improve revenues, inspiring innovation in the mobile channel or applying the benefits of the cloud, the track records of the eight executives profiled in this annual special issue illustrate how much the role of the bank technology leader has changed in recent years. This year's Elite 8 honorees are seizing this historical moment in banking to redefine their roles as well as the role technology plays at successful financial services organizations.

To read the profiles of each of this year's Elite 8 winners, click the links in the box to the right of this article.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & ...