Ex-Credit Union CIO tell resellers, 'Don’t get complacent'

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This article appeared in the August 2014 issue of CRN magazine.

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Ex-Credit Union CIO tell resellers, 'Don’t get complacent'

Tell us about a recent project that required an external IT provider.

CUA has just successfully completed their largest business transformation. Underpinning this was a new core banking system, including a new online and mobile banking offering. This transformation was named Nucleus. In essence, it is the new platform that provides both the foundation for future growth and productivity. We had a number of key partners involved in this transformation. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) was the largest involved.

What was TCS’ input?

CUA was charged with completing the systems integration and TCS provided technical assistance. TCS provided this application package and partnering with CUA in an offshore-onshore model.

Let me be clear that this was a true partnership. We both had skin in the game and acted liked owners in getting a successful result. This clearly started as a vendor relationship and we worked to build this into a much more strategic and valued partnership.

What does an IT supplier have to do to win your business?

I would expect the basics are met and a partner provides strong technical expertise: the ‘A’ team along with a strategic relationship, not a quarter-by-quarter relationship. I would want my partner to be working with our team on innovation and taking an investment position to create real value.

Is it all about price?

In a cost-constrained environment, this is always a factor. However, it would be a mistake to just buy on price, unless of course this is a pure commodity. For technology that is to provide innovation, there is always a margin for bringing creativity to the table.

Can you tell us about the last time an IT service provider impressed you?

TCS displayed a strong commitment to delivering and the TCS executive, both onshore and offshore, were personally invested in ensuring that success was achieved. From the early difficulties that we faced working together; it reached the point that CUA and TCS staff were working so well together that it was not easy to distinguish members of each team. Everyone took ownership and committed personally to achieve positive outcomes.

Can you name one or two mistakes that IT service providers often make?

Taking a business for granted is one mistake that I commonly see. For an incumbent that has made past investments, there is sometimes a mentality that this will continue forever. But often what brought you here won’t be what is required in the future. The other mistake is that providers are drawn into short-term tactical approaches and don’t take a broader portfolio view.

How is the cloud affecting your approach to investment?

The cloud is impossible to ignore, but it requires careful and purposeful investment. Having a cloud-first principle will ensure that there is sufficient consideration and that further legacy is not being created. That being said, due diligence around the IT security and the architectural implications of a point cloud solution is a must.

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