Heresy From Olde World of Banking

Technology in the financial industry would normally bring about thinking of mainframe computers, large projects, Basel II and well structured governance, however, that is being challenged. At the Technology & Innovation – the Future of Banking & Financial Services Conference in October, new Suncorp CIO, Jeff Smith outlined his view of IT governance. He believes that, applied to projects, it is overemphasised and hence in the end counterproductive. Structuring projects in a linear fashion with phases, gateways and sign-offs should be abandoned. Instead, by applying what is called agile methods, smaller teams should be working within short timeframes, undisturbed during that period. At the end of a month the work would be reviewed, corrections applied, or possibly cancelled if its value cannot be demonstrated. He also claimed that banks were becoming “more agile organisations” conducting more and more projects of six months duration only. These limited projects would aim to retain as much intellectual capital as possible in the company, strictly minimising outsourcing or offshoring of development and functions. As could be expected, the title of his keynote speech began with the words “Transformational change …”.