Finance CIOs reveal plans to recover from recession

Research among bank CIOs reveal how financial services companies ravaged by recession are investing in IT to help them emerge stronger

Research of 55 bank CIOs reveal how companies ravaged by recession are investing in IT to help them emerge stronger.

The financial crisis which began with the credit crunch in 2008 and the subsequent collapse of investment banking giant Lehman Brothers. It led to unprecedented change in global financial services.

A surge of regulation, falling profits, disgruntled customers, bankruptcy and even nationalisation have all become unexpected consequences of the 2008 crash.

The Financial Services Report research out by IT giant Fujitsu analysed the activities and plans of 55 banks across the retail, investment and wholesale banking sectors.

Reducing costs and upgrading IT top priorities

CIOs were asked for their top three IT priorities for the next three years. Over half (51%) listed reducing cost as a top priority, while 27% said upgrading IT systems, 22% improving customer experience, 20% mobile banking and 18% said moving to the cloud.

A total of 85% said the IT department is attempting to meet the needs of the business by doing more with less.

When it comes to moving to the cloud, 40% of all banks said they have already implemented cloud across their organisation, and 29% said they planned to do so. A significant 22% said they do not see the cloud as an enabler for change and will not move any systems to it.

Essential skills for finance IT careerists

For IT professionals hoping for careers in financial services IT and suppliers targeting services at banks, a good understanding of the core business processes are essential. 67% of the CIOs questioned said this was the most required skill. Infrastructure/enterprise skills were required by 33% of CIOs, specific software skills by 17% and 17% also said cloud computing expertise is important.

Mobile banking is high on the agenda. A significant 71% of the CIOs surveyed said mobile banking is important for customers compared to 49% that were asked the question three years ago.

The biggest overall benefit of mobile banking is the ability to generate new revenue streams, with 80% citing it as a key benefit. Better customer retention is a key benefit according to 76% of respondents.

IT pivotal to the future of financial services

The report said financial institutions in the UK find themselves at a pivotal time and that IT has an important role. 

“They need to reshape their ICT to reshape their business. New regulation coming on stream between now and 2014 will demand that retail banks and financial services organisations really get their houses in order," said the report.

"To meet these needs, IT will need to be fit to change. Flexibility, more analytics and better focus on the needs of the business and customers will underpin success. Solving platform complexity will be important.”

Read more on IT outsourcing