It's good to feel needed, and in banking these days perhaps no one is more valued than a capable technology executive. Whether it has to do with security, risk management and compliance, customer retention and cross-selling, or payments, lending and other operational activities, the IT organization has never been more essential to a bank's performance, success, reputation and even survival.
That's not to say the job of running IT at a bank -- of any size -- is getting easier. The responsibilities of bank CIOs and CTOs are increasingly complex and include activities in areas such as budget and resource management, workforce development and regulatory compliance that were never contemplated by their predecessors as recently as a decade ago.
The six technology executives profiled by senior editors Maria Bruno-Britz and Nancy Feig in this issue's special report on "Banking's Most Innovative CIOs" not only understand the multiple and sometimes conflicting demands of the job -- they revel in the challenge. In addition to their specific technical skills and achievements, they recognize how the business of banking is changing, and how that is transforming expectations for what makes a successful CIO. And while no one thinks that innovation is an end in itself, these executives (whose selection was based on recommendations from readers, vendors, analysts and consultants, as well as Bank Systems & Technology's own research and coverage) bring creativity and an open mind to challenges as varied as vetting the potential benefits of emerging technologies, managing an outsourcing relationship, supporting new products, payment vehicles and distribution channels or preparing for the next security threat.
In the spirit of appreciating IT excellence, the achievements of the 2006 "Most Innovative CIOs" will be recognized at Bank Systems & Technology's upcoming Executive Summit, "The Transformation Imperative," which will take place Sept. 17-19 at La Quinta Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, Calif. To join with them and other senior banking executives at this exclusive educational and networking event, featuring speakers from organizations such as JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America and Mellon Financial, visit the Executive Summit Web site at www.banktech.com/summit or e-mail me at email@example.com for more details.