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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Future of Technology Leadership in Banks of Bangladesh

The global pandemic has been a test of the resilience and adaptability and that the task ahead is to make sure those two attributes apply to both to IT teams and to the services by developing a sustainable roadmap for evolving digital footprint, focusing on agility, resilience, collaboration and critical thinking.

Businesses will emerge from the current crisis with a greater reliance on digital technology and with heightened expectations of IT. CIOs have a unique opportunity to use their enhanced status to accelerate the path towards digitization. Their core task is to bring together people with very different specializations and to direct their efforts towards a common strategic goal. CIOs need to listen carefully to stakeholders to understand their needs, focus on delivering value and remain agile, offering continuous improvements and changing course as market conditions change.

Every individual has a piece of the technology solution in their mind, but the challenge is how to leverage all of the potential towards one goal. IT needs to get away from being seen solely as an infrastructure provider and be understood as enabling and leading digital transformation.

The onset of Covid- 19 and the lockdowns that followed across the world had a profoundly disruptive effect on every business.  The combined impact of a health crisis and temporary economic shutdown would have been a devastating blow a decade ago, but in 2020 most businesses were in a position to make the rapid adjustments necessary to continue operations, despite the wholesale closure of offices and other work locations.

IT departments around the world rose to the challenge of ensuring business continuity where there is no option for failure; responding to the sudden crisis with speed and agility. Digital transformation programs expected to play out over years were compressed into a few intense weeks as organizations shifted to remote working practically overnight and all business transactions took place virtually or online.  Under normal circumstances such a transition would have been incredibly hard to implement, but as CIO perspective, “Pure necessity is a stronger driver than a clear vision.”

The speed with which IT teams addressed operational challenges, such as rapidly increasing network bandwidth, upgrading security, introducing new platforms and ensuring the robustness of systems – won them many friends and new champions within the team.  

Employees and leadership teams became convinced of the critical contribution made by IT teams who demonstrated flexibility and responsiveness in rising to the occasion. But the pandemic has also altered perceptions about the IT function which may have a lasting impact. Technology is pervasive across the business. This ‘revelation’ puts Technology at the centre of the conversation about the alignment between business and IT. Going back 5-10 years, IT was viewed as a line item on the expense report, as a backroom function. Now, it is viewed as a strategic differentiator, which means that as a CIO has the responsibility to influence the growth and profitability of the company; CIO can influence customer’s businesses through digital channels. Now CIO measures IT’s success not only through internally- facing KPIs but also through business-facing KPIs.

CIO should believe that the pandemic was a wake- up call for organizations that have yet to invest fully in digitization and long- term resilience. While providing a stable infrastructure and ensuring business continuity has been essential, the bigger challenge is to build an intelligent enterprise where everything is connected and data flows seamlessly for the benefit of each business line and function. “Middleware or Open Banking APIs, Data analytics, AI, automation, robotics — these are the game changers. However, many organizations are not changing their priorities as on future need of customer demand. I believe CIOs should take into account on the following top 10 (ten) philosophies for the future journey –   

  • Creating an entrepreneurial culture of innovation where people are willing to take risks and are not scared to fail.
  • Building teams with outstanding domain knowledge and leading them through change, focusing on outcomes rather than physical presence.
  • Communicating with empathy and understanding; articulating a clear purpose, providing vision and creating engagement across the organization.
  • Modelling an attitude of continuous learning, listening attentively to stakeholders, getting the ‘outside- in view’, and understanding the customer/ client journey.
  • Acquiring outstanding diverse talent across a range of technology disciplines.
  • Collaborating with other functions; uniting disparate factions and connecting the dots between business and IT.
  • Thinking strategically and understanding the long- term impact of technology choices.
  • Being a business partner, challenging the status quo and focusing on value.
  • Leading through influence and persuasion rather than relying on the exercise of authority.
  • Being flexible enough to make rapid decisions quickly amidst uncertainty.

Overall, CIOs or Technology Leaders have to come out of the shadows into the spotlight as Covid-19 has been a catalyst for digital transformation; managing talent is a crucial task for CIOs and the war for talent is a reality to build a truly diverse teams. CIOs are now embarked upon a journey to transform the reputation of IT through “Digital Transformation” which is essential and become mandatory job to do by the CIOs of all banks. Now-a-days, “Digital Transformation” is not limited to internal process automation or Business Process Reengineering (BPR); it means Bank Version 4.0 where banks have to come out from “fixed time banking” to “anytime banking”, “physical, branch or location specific banking” to “anywhere banking”, “single device banking” to “any device/platform banking”. In a nutshell, “Technology Enabled Smart Banking” should be the strategic intention that leads to ensure customer convenience, minimize service turnaround time (TAT), and give the competitive advantage of the market to have sustainable growth for the banks.   

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