Financial services CIOs and business leaders must align priorities for Covid-19 response

Financial services CIOs, who drive digital business strategy and innovation, must align with business leader priorities to ensure a coordinated response and recovery to Covid-19, according to Gartner.

Investment in automation and remote working technologies will help financial services organisations achieve new business goals.

“Financial services CIOs moved quickly to respond to the immediate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic by addressing the needs of their teams as they moved to remote work, or, for employees considered “essential”, ensured that they had the proper equipment and physical space,” said Nicole Sturgill, research vice president at Gartner.

“Now, in order to successfully reset and emerge from this crisis, it’s critical that these CIOs align their next steps with business executive leadership’s strategy.”

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Business leaders say tech infrastructure was a weakness when Covid-19 hit; CIOs disagree

The Gartner 2020 Financial Services COVID-19 Pulse survey asked financial services business leaders and CIOs what they considered to be strengths and weaknesses as they responded to the crisis.

Over half of business leaders indicated that technology infrastructure was a weakness, compared with just 20% of financial services CIOs.

“This disconnect will be an ongoing, perhaps even growing, challenge if left unaddressed,” continued Sturgill. “CIOs must take immediate action to understand why business leaders felt that technology was a weakness. Their answers can provide the path forward for which new technology investments need to be prioritised.”

According to the report, 65% of financial services CIOs surveyed plan to increase spending on infrastructure technologies such as APIs, microservices and cloud in the coming year, and over half plan to invest in automation that reduces the need for high-touch processes and contributes to cost optimisation.

“Both business leaders and CIOs demonstrate a shared interest in automation technologies, so it’s clear that this area will be a key priority for financial services organisations post-Covid-19,” added Sturgill.

In the short-term, Gartner recommends CIOs create a priority map that draws a clear line between business and IT goals and identifies how such technologies will help achieve each goal.

In the long-term, financial services CIOs can proactively prevent future gaps by engaging business partners in prioritisation sessions early and often and by clearly articulating which investments will make them more resilient as an organisation.

“Fixing what’s broken will always be a near term priority for CIOs but planning ahead, while harder in uncertain times, is critical to securing the future success of the organisation. CIOs should create a structure to gather business imperatives on a regular basis, both through direct conversation with business leaders and line-of-business stakeholders, and through coordinated planning sessions and documents,” said Sturgill.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...