Agility must be real goal of investment

Chief information officers working in retail banking need a clear understanding of their bank's IT strengths and must invest to retain and develop any unique competitive advantages for the future.

Chief information officers working in retail banking need a clear understanding of their bank's IT strengths and must invest to retain and develop any unique competitive advantages for the future.

This would mean viewing technology as a tool to develop specific business-process agility, rather than just a commoditised service that brings improvements that won't in themselves differentiate firms from their competitors.

The warning was issued by Professor Andrea Masini of the London Business School in a keynote address at Gartner's recent financial services conference in London.

Masini said banking CIOs had to match IT investments to needs, depending on the size of their organisation and its specialisation.

"A key principle to grasp is not to under-invest if yours is a complex organisation. Equally, you should not over-invest if yours is a relatively small or simple company," he said.

"Make sure your processes remain unique, or even poor companies will be able to catch you up by buying the same processes off the shelf."

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