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Deutsche Bank: IT becomes a job for finance

Rolf Roewekamp | March 3, 2015
In one of the Bank's most major projects, finance and IT have joined forces to create a central data warehouse for all risk and finance data. The giant project was on the verge of failure in 2013. CFO Joachim Müller redefined his role.

"It was clear to us that the Bank had to speed things up," Sutter says. EMEA CFO Müller agrees: "We had to execute the routines more effectively, which demands extremely good cooperation and trust between the various areas." The project was reorganised to ensure better cooperation by having finance and IT share responsibility. Now around 600 IT and 200 finance employees are working in teams, some of them in the same rooms, in a matrix organisation that is structured vertically by country and horizontally by process and data delivery.

"An exaggerated way to look at this is that in the old world, a bank's CFO placed an order with IT and waited for IT to deliver. We cannot afford this anymore today," Müller says. "Now a CFO has to get much more involved in processes and IT in order to ensure project success, in large part also because the competition demands it. You can look at the production of data like the production of goods in an industrial enterprise." Just like industrial production, it has to keep becoming more efficient and of higher quality.

Certainly Müller's new understanding of his role did not come about entirely voluntarily, but all the more intensively. "It was a very extensive learning process. You just have to dedicate yourself more in order to understand the requirements and always keep the proper distance in order to see where you stand, whether the milestones are still being reached, if you are still within the strategic architecture," Müller says. "But when you are made jointly responsible for the implementation of such strategically important projects, you can assume that willingness is high."

The Fed gets involved
Late 2013 brought proof that the 800 project team members are not about to run out of work. That is when the Fed wrote a letter criticising data quality, unreliable regulatory reporting and IT systems, among other things. "We maintain a continuous and critical-constructive dialogue with all major regulators, who support us in driving this important project forward with full intensity," Müller says.

Moreover, Deutsche Bank launched StRIDe long before many regulations had been tightened. "Had that not happened at the time, we would not have come this far today," says Müller. "Today we deliver more, faster and better -- also to regulators. But there is still a lot to be done, of course."

Success was already apparent by the end of 2014. Last year, there were six rollouts, more than ever before in a year, and nearly 60,000 out of 70,000 milestones were reached. Additional demanding rollouts for software, IT systems and processes will follow this year. Today, the Bank has already transferred central regulatory data for the entire bank into the central FDW warehouse. Regulatory and finance data will continue to be added here this year.


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