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How CIOs are transforming their organisations for the digital era

Clint Boulton | July 12, 2017
CIOs discuss key efforts to shake up their IT departments as they lay the foundation for digital business strategies.

Companies are facing a digital imperative to revamp business operations to better serve customers. To accommodate these shifts, CIOs are making sweeping organizational changes, adding new key roles, setting up innovation labs and tapping modern technologies to meet strategic mandates issued by their CEOs and boards.

Social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) forms the primary digital fuel for most IT organizations. But most CIOs eager to stay atop trends are also testing new products in artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things and blockchain. Collectively, such technologies have the potential to help companies transform their business processes.

As Victor Fetter, CIO of LPL Financial, puts it: "The leading CIOs are finding the right spots in their organization to make strategic hires to drive transformation. And they’re creating an environment where it's OK to innovate and use that to see how it shapes the agenda. They’re doing all of that in a space that's wrapped around the customer experience you want to deliver.”

However, CIOs know to avoid technology for technology's sake. Rather, Deloitte says, the tools must be harnessed as part of a new "unbounded IT" operating model in which CIOs better align their IT departments with the business strategy. And CIOs have work to do as industries remain less than 40 percent digitized on average, according to research McKinsey & Co. A few CIOs recently shared with their methodologies for attacking this challenge.


victor fetter
Victor Fetter, CIO of LPL Financial.

Fetter, whose financial services firm supports 700 banks and credit unions and more than 14,000 financial advisors, is focused heavily on improving the way LPL caters to its customers. He’s established a customer experience center where members interact with financial advisor clients to learn ways they can improve their workflow and processes. The team reports its findings to LPL’s business groups, which can adjust customer experiences, optimize workflows, enhance data insights and implement other customer-facing tools.

Fetter also appointed a DevOps point person whose role is to shrink time to market and hired a “data lead,” whose job is normalizing, extracting and using data in different ways and making it available to the business and clients. "It's about finding those key roles that you want to have in your organization to really drive change,” Fetter says.

Cultural change also extends to competitions and events, including hackathons and guest speakers, such as Constellation Research’s Ray Wang, who Fetter says brought a broad view of emerging technologies and their role in markets. When LPL moved to a new facility in Fort Mill, S.C., Fetter created an innovation lab. There engineers can test emerging technologies, such as how to use’s Alexa and other virtual assistants to check balance inquiries, trades and other transactions . Fetter says such experiments force engineers to think about how they must rewire service layers to integrate voice into LPL’s back-end systems.


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