The role of EAs and IT Strategy in Financial Institutions

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When I joined the banking industry 2 years ago I wondered if financial institutions must apply a different technology implementation plan to succeed, and the answer is a resounding Yes. Banks will be out of business if they do not invest in information technology and knowledge
management on a continuous basis and make investments in cutting edge technologies.  This is all required to outpace the competition and the race is fierce.

Information technology is a Strategic Tool for Banks & Financial Institutions, it enhances automation, speeds up processing, and improves the use of data.  It also challenges and extends minds to create new products & services to improve customer service.

For this to practically materialize,  applications and solutions must be accurately architected and implemented.  Enter Enterprise Architecture (EA) as a role which comes in place to help in developing the strategy and the required work products in a deliberate and logical way.  I believe that IT Strategy is one of the critical components that is derived from the corporate strategy to shed light on the path ahead Technology and its transformation.

A successful IT strategy for financial institution will take into consideration the following:

  • Enhancing the speed of information flow between systems, branches, and third parties
  • Automating/Improving the processes of loans analysis to facilitate timely decision making
  • Extending the information technology services to those without it
  • Reducing the overall cost of information technology
  • Improving vendor management & relationship
  • Putting the right expectations about the technical capabilities and technology limitations
  • Considering the change management prospective related to the future technology
  • Considering rules and regulations constraints for future solutions
  • Focusing on the mobility side of solution and the usage of PDAs and surfaces
  • Introducing Social Media Portals as part of future marketing and customer service

 

From my experience during the past decade, you need to know your business and where you see your business as you develop your IT strategy. Key technology decisions should be the role of IT strategy and Enterprise Architects and not the programmers or developers.  This is not minimizing the critical role of development but rather to highlight decision making at a Macro view to ensure long-term sustainability.

One of the biggest pitfalls is having business strategists defining technology solutions; instead these strategists should define what they want to accomplish through which business capabilities according to what priorities.  Only then can initiatives be developed and prioritized to fulfill the requirements of the business.

Within your organization do you have a well defined IT Strategy? Do you have clarity on the future directions and technologies your organization is investing in and how they are linked back to Corporate Strategy?

Mahmoud AbuFadda

Author: Mahmoud AbuFadda

An expert level Enterprise Architect with solid skills in Business Architecture, Information Systems Architecture, building blocks modeling, Scope definition, problem solving, and documentation. Seventeen years' previous business experience provided first-hand knowledge of diverse business operations and management information requirements.

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