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Emphasise On Building Solid Relationships With Business Clients

By Hasanat Dewan, Global Head of Global Technology and Operations, Russel Investments

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Hasanat Dewan, Global Head of Global Technology and Operations, Russel Investments

Steering transformational initiatives within your business environment that typically required IT 

Over the last three years, as part of our normal due diligence, we’ve undertaken a comprehensive review of the benefits and costs of technology off-shoring. We have found that in addition to the well-known benefits, there were a number of “soft costs” such as data licensing, connectivity, software costs and server/ storage costs.

Another transformative area has been IT infrastructure and related services. Following a detailed assessment two years ago aimed at understanding the costs and benefits of managing most of these services internally, we found that a more optimal arrangement might be to leverage commercial offerings that intelligently package core data center services with networks, desktop, mobile and a service desk.

Some of the things done to elevate IT’s relation with the business

Russell has introduced a “stage gate” review and approval process for all technology projects. The review-level maps to the estimated amount of spending and the strategic impact of each project.

We have also placed great emphasis across Russell’s IT organization on building solid relationships with our business clients in order to be more effective strategic partners. We’ve
also created a new senior role category called “Head of Business Technology”. These individuals are seasoned technologists with strong business knowledge who align with business-line leadership and lead all aspects of IT service delivery for them.

The areas in business environment where solutions do not yet exist or not up to the mark, and which if existed, would've made job easier

First, as the financial services industry is collapsing geographic and political boundaries, we need a better ability to deliver information worldwide in near real-time.

Second, we must develop the ability to quickly identify and understand changes to the regulatory schemes and financial laws of individual countries and geopolitical groups in which we do business.

And third, our ability to respond quickly and decisively to online threats to our brand must improve.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

There is growing evidence that the rapid adoption of social media channels in the lives of individuals will have a profound impact on how business will be conducted in the near future. Mobile form factors facilitate more and better individualized communications. In the area of IaaS, we are assessing the costs and benefits as well as the appropriate use of these capabilities.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

The role of the CIO has become central to the working of a modern enterprise. The strategic role of the CIO allows me to run IT and Operations as a “business”, connecting my activities to strategic growth, cost control and margin protection, as well as technical agility and sophistication to meet the needs of tomorrow.

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs

Start with Standards: I put a high premium on identifying and implementing standard solutions that can be leveraged across business lines.

Disciplined Planning and Execution: I have found that the best predictor of success in any delivery scenario is high quality planning – through requirements, design, building, implementation and production– coupled with strong execution under a streamlined PMO model, with clear accountabilities across the participating subject matter experts and product owners.

Client Service and Communications: We nurture a service culture across IT and operations to maximize the benefits we provide to the organization.

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