IT is Changing into an Internal Consulting and Project Management Division within an Organization

Timothy J Obrein, Director - IT, Barney & Barney
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Timothy J Obrein, Director - IT, Barney & Barney

Timothy J Obrein, Director - IT, Barney & Barney

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

Our team is evolving from standalone IT operations to an IT business analysis and consulting group for our internal user community. As part of this transformation, we have created new roles to address mobility administration and business analysis approaches to IT solutions. Mobility administration advances and supports the use of almost any mobile platform for our user community. While in the new business analysis role, we are able to better understand the needs of our users and develop technology to meet those needs.

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

IT is no longer just an office someone visits to fix a computer issue; rather IT is changing into an internal consulting and project management division within the company. We still have a traditional "Help Desk" for simple solutions, but we are evolving into an integrated operation to better support our clients and internal associates.

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

We've done four things to improve processes and reduce cost-

1. Inventory management system, which tracks all systems and software automatically

2. IT Support tracking tool, which has helped us manage requests, prioritize issues and obtain a global outlook of where our resources are focused

3. Standardization of hardware platforms and software systems

4. Creating long-term vendor relationships

Thoughts on how IT strategic planning supports organization-wide efforts to improve quality, cut costs and improve efficiency in the financial sector

Our current business leaders expect pervasive and easy-to-use web-based and mobile self-service technology. This is accelerating and I believe we must be nimble enough to embrace newer technologies that are forthcoming.

Specifically, I know of three high value solutions that would be tremendous differentiators for the company:

1. Automation of annual renewal documents for our external clients

2. Ubiquitous and seamless integration of client portals for self-service, with secure, non- redundant data repositories

3. Business and data intelligence solutions that support our internal user community with better market and client tracking & management

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

All of these technologies are currently having an impact. Our social media platforms allow us an opportunity to not only disseminate information, but engage in a dialogue with a community of clients, prospects, fans and associates that no other platform has provided before.

One thing we try to avoid is locking into any technology that is long-term, placing us at a competitive disadvantage.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

Probably the biggest changes in my role have been two fold; breaking down the silo roles of the IT team members into "project managers" and redefining the IT department as IT consultant to all other departments.

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs

I would encourage anyone entering into, or wondering how to improve their role as CIO to focus on three areas:

1. Develop a talented staff, able to work together as a cohesive team and evolve with technology. Then, recognize them for their successes!

2. Continuously identify inefficiency and redundancy, and work to remove it.

3. Develop a great working relationship with your boss, and keep him informed of your vision.

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