By : Andy Brown
October 04, 2016 12:00 PM
Chief information officers (CIOs) are needed to play an increasingly important role within financial institutions (FIs) at the moment, as banks are looking to maximize their digital opportunities.
More and more frequently, CIOs are being seen as a central function to FIs’ operations, especially since the rise of online banking and the move to digital payments. FIs recognize that these professionals have a valuable skill set to add value to their organizations' wider operations.
In fact, research carried out by Cognizant in early 2016 led to the discovery that almost half (45 percent) of CIOs surveyed believe they are the people leading digital transformation for FIs.
CIOs 'leading digital transformation'
Following a survey of 50 CIOs working in the banking industry, Cognizant found that nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of these professionals believe they play a major role in helping financial institutions to embrace digital processes and opportunities.
In addition, more than half (51 percent) of CIOs believe that their organization has an articulated, well-communicated and understood digital strategy for moving forward. As the best qualified people to help implement these strategies, this is just one of the ways in which CIOs are currently more valuable to FIs than ever before.
Cognizant also found that 51 percent of organisations have already identified the appropriate technologies to use to deliver their corporate objectives. With just under half of financial institutions not having made this step yet, this is another area where CIOs can add value and help banks to upskill.
Helping banks maximize digital opportunities
The research also uncovered the fact that 43 percent of CIOs see digital skills gaps among financial workers as a significant barrier to digital transformation. However, thanks to the high skill level that CIOs possess themselves, they are in a position to provide direction, training and support to colleagues that may be falling somewhat short.
As a result, CIOs can add long-term value to FIs' operations, passing on knowledge that can be used on a company-wide basis.
Some 45 percent of survey respondents said that the benefits of implementing and measuring digital programs were understood by their superiors, suggesting that financial institutions are willing to make changes and address skills gaps, but that they will need vital help in doing so from CIOs.
CIOs used to collaboration
Having a strong, collaborative team is key for banks to be able to successfully implement a digital transformation strategy and, yet again, this is an area where CIOs can add a great deal of value.
As their expertise is required by many different departments within an organization, CIOs have relationships with chief marketing officers (CMOs), procurement specialists and other central functions, meaning it is easy for them to begin implementing new collaborative processes when digital takes over to ensure everyone is up to speed, and that nothing gets lost or put at risk of a breach.
However, under one-third (32 percent) of respondents said that their organization's CEO promoted cross collaboration between CIOs and CMOs, demonstrating that more work needs to be done - spearheaded by CIOs where possible - to bring all functions within a bank together to allow for the most effective and successful digital transformations.