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Recently, Red Hat -- together with IDC Financial Insights -- surveyed Chief Information Officers (CIOs) at Financial Services Institutions (FSI) in Asia Pacific about their IT priorities and how they planned to take advantage of Third Platform technologies, such as cloud and social.

According to survey results, CIOs have a clear set of success metrics they want to achieve; such as:

  1. Be faster: Implementation of core applications needs to happen faster. Survey respondents anticipate that in 2016, 44% of FSIs will adopt a mature systems development lifecycle (SDLC) to do exactly that.

  2. Get increasingly entrenched with customers: Currently these institutions see an average of 2.9 products per customer -- up from 1.8 over 10 years. According to survey results, APAC FSIs are aiming to to reach the global benchmark of 6.2 products per customer.

  3. Reducing compliance budgets: Currently, the average FSI in the region spends 26% of its IT budget on compliance. However, with the increasing availability of systems, it is becoming easier and cheaper to enhance safety, reliability and compliance. As a result, survey respondents expect to see their spending on compliance drop to 20%

A common theme across these metrics is the need to achieve greater customer satisfaction with less budget. These success metrics and key challenges shared are also not unique to FSIs. Our experience working with Fortune 500 companies to public agencies has given us good insight into industry best practices, that can help CIOs address their 2015 priorities and budget constraints.

Based on these, here are some recommendations from IDC and Red Hat:

Speed: From improving developer productivity by bridging gaps between IT development and IT operations teams to using Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for the delivery of applications, and transitioning to stateless apps which in turn can better support changing business dynamics, the CIO needs to be constantly challenging the status quo. A shorter time-to-market can positively impact the bottom line and work towards better customer engagement.

Customer Centricity: Start with unified omni-channel experiences -- as customers are increasingly using mobile for their financial services. The CIO needs to be agile when developing these customer-facing applications and increase the line-of-business (LOB) ownership of application release cycles. Consulting services can help organizations become more efficient through holistic solutions that incorporate DevOps and continuous delivery methodologies into a customer's environment or people, processes, and technology.

Compliance: The CIO and team need to identify critical systems and secure them accordingly, mitigate risks within interlaced applications, and continue towards next-generation security. CIOs should consider working with solution providers who are able to provide increased confidence through certification of hardware and software, helping to mitigate security risk and to ensure reliability and availability of systems.

These recommendations are also aligned to decision imperatives highlighted in IDC's Worldwide Financial 2015 Predictions1. We expect that 2015 will shape up to be a particularly dynamic period, with these institutions looking at ways to take advantage of opportunities driven by third platform technologies, while driving down costs with a cloud-first policy*.


*Cloud First - designing applications with Cloud as the primary and optimized method of delivery


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1Idc.com, IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Financial Services 2015 Predictions, November 2014