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4 May, 2022

Supporting your Financial Institution's IT Department

Financial institutions are under constant pressure to meet rising customer expectations, combat increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats, and comply with more and more regulatory requirements while identifying operational efficiencies that will enable them to scale and grow.

And a lot of that responsibility lands squarely on the institution’s IT department.

As a result, people in technology roles work nights and weekends to keep up with the meetings, people management, and tech-related demands that require their specialized attention. Often with limited staff and resources, the typical technology professional is juggling the tasks of tech support, a rotating cast of vendors, an ever-evolving cyber-threat landscape, and misalignment between the IT department and leadership. All while performing the heroics of providing sound and secure systems and technology that many employees and customers take for granted. As a result, and not surprisingly, many of these IT professionals are burning out.

So, what can your financial institution do to relieve their burden? Hiring more people can help in the short term, but technology talent is increasingly hard to find and expensive when you do. This ‘just add water approach proves costly and ineffective for financial institutions. Instead, they need to take a more holistic approach.

First, it’s imperative to break down any communication barriers between the institution’s executive officers, board members, and the technology department. It’s unlikely that a lifetime banker will be able to learn the bits and bytes of tech, so it’s pertinent for technologists to speak the language of business leaders. Therefore, IT leaders must propose their priorities based on business objectives and communicate those priorities so that the executive team understands. For example, what are the risks and rewards of certain technology decisions? What should be handled first, second and third? How do technology-related investments align with the bank’s “defensive” objectives (stable, compliant, and secure systems) and “offensive” ones (innovation, digital-customer delivery, and reaching new markets)?

Next, addressing security, reliability, and compliance is essential. This will minimize the damage if another initiative gets delayed or doesn’t go perfectly. Once a stable base is set, the IT team can look for ways to help scale their institution, differentiate the employee and customer experiences, and apply technology to achieve strategic growth goals. When everyone understands the criticality of building a solid tech foundation, fewer “pet projects” are brought in prematurely, saving IT staff from having to react to them or make a case for repeatedly postponing them.

Automating or outsourcing repeated tasks also allows IT teams to focus on utilizing technology to support growth objectives. For example, removing the burden of patch management, employee support calls, security testing, and exam preparation typically results in an immediate, tangible difference in the in-house team’s productivity. The key is not to introduce an assemblage of vendors who provide bolt-on components, work disparately, and require ongoing due diligence.

That’s where BankOnIT can help. We partner with financial institutions to streamline their IT function, enabling them to achieve more. With an IT foundation built from the ground up and delivered through a team of highly skilled technologists, project managers, former bankers, and auditors, BankOnIT banks are more efficient, more scalable, and better able to focus on ways to deliver a differentiated experience to their customers.

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Disclaimer

This publication attempts to provide timely and accurate information concerning the subjects discussed. It is furnished with the understanding that it does not provide legal or other professional services. If legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a qualified professional should be obtained.

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