October 20, 2011

Brian Hurdis
EVP, Technology Services, FIS (Jacksonville, Fla.):

There are four areas on which banks need to focus: innovation, risk management, adaptability and efficiency. Banks will have to develop new products and thoroughly research and analyze their markets. Increased and more sophisticated security threats will require top-notch risk management, which includes channel integration, and banks will have to adapt to the plethora of new federal regulations.

Meanwhile, speed to market with new products will be paramount to gaining leverage over the competition, and efficiency -- both internally and with external clients -- remains critical. As margins compress, the need to discover and capture new customers and to develop new suites of capabilities for existing products and services will become keys to staying relevant in a global industry that's more competitive than ever.

Communication, as always, is crucial. Gaining and maintaining a seat at the table while managing relationships with executives of the company is critical. The CIO office should be a champion of the business. The CIO must establish and maintain IT alignment with the business, and promote and sell IT to the business as an asset.

Staff Contributors
Corporate Executive Board (Washington, D.C.):

As technology innovations increasingly collide with regulatory changes and economic disruption, bank CIOs find themselves facing brand-new -- and increasingly disruptive -- challenges. But while pressures from reducing the cost base, improving the user experience and defending against emerging competitive threats demand CIOs' attention, unfortunately, their ability to address these challenges is too often limited.

Meanwhile, most CIOs continue to be tasked with reducing their organizations' cost bases. Those who succeed at strategic planning, portfolio prioritization and transition risk assessment can be effective.

Few CIOs, however, have the experience necessary to improve staff and client user experience with and through IT capabilities. To do this well, it is paramount to pull forward end-user involvement to the earliest stages of design, which can increase their likelihood to use a new system by up to 55 percent. CIOs also must utilize test-and-learn approaches for innovation and prioritize business-relevant IT services to satisfy the 65 percent of business partners that expect IT to increasingly drive business process and business model innovation.

For CIOs to survive, they must prepare themselves and their staffs for major shifts in skills and focus.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as ...