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IT a Major Factor in an Organization's Overall Success

Paul Johnson, EVP & CIO, BB&T
Paul Johnson, EVP & CIO, BB&T

Paul Johnson, EVP & CIO, BB&T

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

We operate in an industry that is closely tied to the economy; is struggling with a low reputational perspective; has fewer and stronger competitors going after a diminishing revenue base; has a rapidly expanding legislative and regulatory agenda and an increasing level of client expectation (accessibility, flexibility, and availability). At the same time, newer computing paradigms (cloud, big data, etc.), explosive data growth, increased “connectedness” through mobile adoption and social media usage and the associated dependence on electronic channels; and the increasing cyberthreat landscape present significant challenges and opportunities.

The areas in business environment where solutions do not yet exist or not up to the mark, and which if existed, would've made job easier

The two areas which need considerable focus are cybersecurity and regulatory compliance. Technology service providers can assist organizations both by focusing on more holistic solutions and by ensuring that the overall technology “ecosystem” allows Financial Services organizations to easily implement newer capabilities. A significant challenge is to ensure that we are striking the right balance between tactical investments in initiatives relating to risk management.

Thoughts on how IT strategic planning supports organization-wide efforts to improve quality, cut costs and improves efficiency

IT strategic planning is a critical and foundational capability. Done well, it should allow for alignment between IT investment and the company needs and enable high performance. Specifically relating to quality, cost cutting, and improved efficiency, strategic planning identifies opportunities to remove complexity, leverage assets, and streamline operations.

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs

While clearly biased (having been a CIO since 2001), I can think of very few jobs that offer the rich opportunities and challenges that come close to those of a CIO. The reality is that our opportunity exists in every business we support. What other part of a large organization has the broad opportunity that we have? We have a unique opportunity and responsibility to be a lever that “drives” business results. My advice to fellow CIOs would be to “lead from the front”; spend less time on technology and more on understanding business needs; hire great people and stay focused on what is most important.

Manner in which data is used to head off problems and complications before they happen

The next major battlefield and opportunity is around taking massive amounts of information, creating actionable intelligence, and leveraging it to drive corporate performance and customer satisfaction. Increasingly, we are using data to provide improved risk management, meet regulatory expectations, identify revenue and expense savings opportunities, and provide a richer experience to our internal and external clients.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

It has been an interesting journey. Over the last several years, I have seen a significant shift in my role and the perceived/actual value of IT—from ordertaker to valued partner. IT started several years ago in the trailer being pulled behind the passenger car. We then moved to the back seat of the passenger car, then to the front seat as a passenger, and finally, to occasionally driving the car. Any way you look at it, IT will increasingly be a major factor in an organization’s overall success. I believe the role of the CIO (and IT) must constantly evolve.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

Mobility, Big Data, Collaboration (video, wireless, social media, etc.) andHybrid Utility Computing models. All of these areas will increase in usage and importance over the planning horizon (3-5 years).

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