October 20, 2011

David Potterton
VP, Global Research, IDC Financial Insights (Framingham, Mass.):

As we look to 2012, bank CIOs will continue to face a number of challenges, including a hyper-sensitive regulatory environment focused on security, risk and compliance; how best to support cloud initiatives, social media and the increasing number of mobile devices; and a still-challenged spending environment.

In this environment, CIOs need a number of skills to be successful, including effective relationship management, a keen financial understanding, and effective business management and communication expertise.

Perhaps most important, today's bank CIOs need to provide proactive direction in leading their business units and their enterprises forward in the current chaotic and uncertain financial services setting.

While many CIOs possess these qualities, the traditional bank environment often has not been conducive for individuals looking to adopt new technologies or provide innovative services to their customers. Banks must do more within their organizations to develop these skills or look outside of the financial services industry to bring new ideas and techniques to their teams. In this way, bank CIOs can provide the true leadership their institutions and the industry need today.

David Albertazzi
Senior Analyst, Aite Group (Boston):

In the past, bank CIOs oversaw the IT department that ran the bank's mainframe and ordered computer equipment. Today, bank CIOs face ever-more-complex organizations with vast and growing needs. Rising information security concerns, increased regulatory and compliance requirements, expanding digital channels, the need to leverage new delivery models such as cloud computing, and the fast-changing payments landscape speak to the sheer scale of the task faced by bank CIOs and their organizations in the coming years. For this reason, the pendulum continues to swing toward outsourcing of activities and processes. Banks will have to become leaner organizations that rely on third-party vendors for a growing share of their operational and IT needs.

Bank CIOs' challenges are not about technology, as they have a plethora of technology choices. The main challenge is how to apply technology to maximize business value. Technology deployment and skillful vendor management will be required to ensure that ever-changing products and services are delivered. To contribute the most to the organization, proven expertise in both business and technical matters is vital, as CIOs will engage with the enterprise as collaborative business leaders.

As banks want to appeal to many different segments in a more differentiated and adaptive way, it will challenge bank CIOs to be perceptive and to promote a broad technology agenda to help the business profit from leading-edge initiatives while being pragmatic with an ongoing and relentless focus on lower costs and higher efficiency.