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IT leadership: The change agent in the automated enterprise


By Arthur Cole

IT leadership is largely about keeping up with the times, and it's fair to say that the times have been moving pretty quickly lately, especially for crucial industries like the financial sector. The explosion of so-called "fintech" platforms is threatening to do to banks and other financial institutions what Uber has done to the taxi industry: force them to change their outdated processes or face obsolescence. 

The deployment of more user-friendly applications across mobile infrastructure is in order for the financial industry, but this will impact much more than a few processes and entry-level bank tellers. This digital transformation is positioned to reshape entire institutions from the ground up, with aging legacy data infrastructure beIT_leadership_the_change_agent_in_the_automated_enterprise.jpging first in line for an automated makeover that will forever alter IT's role as a supporting player to that of chief value-driver and change agent.

The CIO leads the charge

Change isn't always easy, especially in large organizations with many entrenched interests. Someone has to lead the charge, and increasingly that tasks is falling to the CIO. As Gary Reiner, chief operating partner at global investment firm General Atlantic noted recently, the CIO's job is mainly about sourcing—in this case, the sourcing of financial information technology. But beyond that, the CIO must also work closely with others in the organization to explain how technology can help them perform better. The difference with automation is that it changes the equation from simply improving on the old business model to devising entirely new ones.

Being a change agent is often a thankless job. This is why IT leadership should consider carefully the type of automation and orchestration platform on which to build an automated process architecture, and the manner in which it is to be deployed. Fintech is all about improving the user experience, but that includes employees and partners as well as customers. Many IT departments have a less-than-stellar reputations in the enterprise these days, so failure to provide an automation and orchestration architecture that improves the lives of knowledge workers isn't likely to improve things for customers either.

Transforming financial services through automation

Automation is a key element in this transformation, but the overriding objective should be automation of the business process, not data systems and infrastructure, says Jeff Shuey, senior engagement manager at managed service provider The Mactus Group. Emerging business process management (BPM) platforms are proving highly effective at reducing operational cost and complexity in ways that speed up the pace of business and the ability to adapt to new situations, like fintech. They also free up knowledge workers for more critical functions while reducing error and miscommunication. At the same time, they're highly customizable and can be brought online gradually with minimal disruption to existing processes.

This kind of back-office support will be crucial if financial institutions hope to match the personalized applications that consumers already receive from retail, health care, and other providers, according to Darren Collins, director of industry solutions at data solutions provider Kofax from Lexmark. Consumers these days demand a fast and seamless experience that requires careful coordination of multiple physical, virtual, and application-layer elements. By automating the process, not just the underlying infrastructure, organizations provide more than just a web portal or a mobile app—they can deliver an exceptional customer experience that builds brand loyalty and increases the company's bottom line.

Being a change agent isn't just about identifying the right technologies and putting them in place. It's about crafting a new way of doing things and articulating that vision to others, many of whom are perfectly happy with the way things are.

If IT is to become a driving force in the new digital enterprise, it's not enough to provide the right solutions—it has to create a compelling vision of a new, better way of working as well.

To learn more about automating business processes, read the data sheet, "Enterprise-scale IT process automation with a disciplined approach."

Judy-Anne Goldman
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About the Author


My work with HPE's Enterprise.nxt team gives me a way to share my passion for emerging technology. I love connecting people to innovation, and sharing stories that help others engage with and understand the world around them. I'm a digital nomad, often found traveling with my micro companion KC, a 10-pound mini Dachshund.

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