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BLOG: Making a bank transparent

Sandra Gittlen | Aug. 11, 2011
Even beyond the pain of IT layoffs and outsourcing, the job of CIO at State Street is huge.

One of my great joys as a technology writer is learning the pain points that financial and technology teams are suffering and then watching them plot out solutions. When I recently spoke with Chris Perretta, CIO of financial giant State Street Corp., the technology struggles were front and center.

Perretta is wrestling with the same challenge as most CFOs and CIOs: how to become data-centric.

Though we didn't get a chance to talk specifically about the impact the announced layoff of more than 500 IT workers and the transfer of more than 300 to IBM and Wipro Technologies will have, I expect it's a step closer to his goal. Perretta's colleague, firm spokeswoman Alicia Curran Sweeney, said recently that State Street is focusing on development and investing "in the things that differentiate us as a company versus more of the support type functions that don't offer us competitive advantage."

In other words, developing data-centric services will be Job One for IT. Data analytics will play a major role in this brave new world as users crave end-to-end visibility of their portfolios and transactions. Compliance, reporting, better decision-making -- these are all drivers for a move to accessible intelligence, according to Perretta.

Not only does State Street have to improve transparency, it also has to turn up the volume on access to real-time data. Perretta admits the global nature of today's business is daunting, but he's affixed on it as an achievable goal. He refers to this as systems being able to follow the sun.

Perretta seems determined and anxious to get on with the business at hand. His team hits a wall -- such as figuring out how to protect the integrity of portfolio data yet still allow users to manipulate their data -- and they blast through it. The company launched a service that lets users work with a version of their data in the cloud. Users wanted access via their iPads and IT developed a mobile application.

It's that kind of tenacity, along with listening to customers, that Perretta will need to continue on in the world of data-centric services. Financial users will demand broader access to data and even more increased visibility. They also will no doubt generate even more data to track and protect. Flexibility, patience and a willingness to innovate will be essential in carrying out his grand vision.

 

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