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The changing role of the CIO in the Asian banking industry

Johnny Lu, managing director for Asia Pacific, GMC Software | July 1, 2014
CIOs in the fiancial services industry need to act as consultants in the technology space within their organisations, said Johnny Lu.

With technology trends picking up steam in the region, a number of industry leaders have commented on the changing role of CIOs — what does the future hold for Asia's leading technology decision makers? This is a key question for all CIOs, but particularly those in the financial services sector who, along with their lines of business, are struggling with the digitisation of enterprise.

Lines of business are increasingly in the driving seat at organisations, with the IT department supporting the creation of an efficient digital business strategy. This is primarily because businesses are starting to invest considerable amounts targeting 'Generation Digital' or 'Generation D' as we like to call it — and drive consistency of communications externally. You can argue this naturally falls under the line of business remit.

As a result, financial services institutions' business models must change so that they fit the purpose in this new world, which means using technology to provide customers with greater choice and added value. Only then can they provide the best customer experience (CEX), which is vital in the highly competitive banking sector to regain trust and still drive profitability.

For an example of how organisations can be fit for purpose, let's look at bank statements. In the digital age, why not make the statement interactive and easily accessible online, offline and mobile? This will give the customer choice and control, allowing them to drill down and source the information they want. The more enlightened banks are ready to steal a march on this to differentiate themselves and show they understand their customers' desires.

CIOs have a key role to play in working closely with the departments to help drive such innovation, particularly across mobile and digital routes. However, this doesn't mean ignoring offline media, but delivering multi-channel communications campaigns through the media channel or channels the customer wants.

Another key issue for consideration is the increasing technical and digital understanding amongst staff across all industry sectors. This is an issue that is set to see CIOs experience the erosion of their position, influence and even budgets. Why is this so? There's an increasing trend for staff to by-pass the IT department, particularly where they can justify immediate return on investment to the CFO. This is increasingly becoming the case due to the evolving apps space, with the growth of 'Business to Employee' (B2E) applications and the simplification of app creative.

Clever suppliers in the technology and communications space are starting to create 'Line of Business' apps to make it easier for an organisation's workforce to engage with customers and prospects at a reduced cost — removing, in many cases, paper-based administration and their associated expense. This could be a client onboarding app for the sales team that allows them to sign up new customers quickly and easily outside of the headquarters or a branch. It is applications like these that can provide a significantly improved customer experience, which is vital in such a highly competitive marketplace.


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