Just say ‘yes’ – The role of IT in banking

IT in banking

The power battle between employees and IT needs to end as it is a show-stopper for transformation and growth. For banking in order to succeed the IT needs to play the role of an enabler – oder as Richard Anstey, CTO EMEA of Intralinks – calls it: The IT needs to become the ‘department of yes’.

Just say ‘yes’

The ‘department of no’

Global technology departments have long been perceived as the ‘department of no’ – having a negative bearing on efficiency, particularly in organisations with complex infrastructures. This is an especially pertinent issue in the banking industry, given the huge compliance issues and the siloed nature of projects. Employees then will often try to “get around” IT policy with unapproved and potentially unsafe technology – usually for expedience rather than malfeasance.
It’s difficult to strike a balance between what the employees need and what the IT function can realistically provide. Historically it has been an on-going power battle, with an IT group who should be enabling the business, often having to say ‘no’ more than they can say ‘yes’.

A power battle between employees and IT

So, let’s dwell on this power battle between IT and employees for a moment. In working with global banks, we have learnt that employees can access, for example, over 50 file sharing providers, when only a small few are approved for use. Keeping that in mind, employee-driven actions also mean that banks routinely manage high volumes of exceptions requests (sometimes in excess of 30,000) to their IT security policies every year. If you think about it, that’s an average of 82 exceptions reported every day.

As one example, the IT and security team in one bank said “no” to the digital teams, who were using an unapproved tool to collaborate with outside creative agencies. This presented a security risk to the bank.

So let’s face it: operating a huge IT environment is tough enough but, combine this with employees asking to use additional resources, means IT staff will continue to struggle with exception handling to help keep the business within the “security safe zone”.

Banks already have the solution in place

With this ‘no’ culture in mind, would you then believe me if I said the solution to this raft of sharing problems is probably already in the bank and being used for something else? I work for an 18 year old SaaS vendor called Intralinks – a company whose cloud technology was originally used for loan syndication and M&A transactions. With this in mind, we have already gone through rigorous security audits, or have been whitelisted, in multiple units across many of the large multi-national banks in the US and Europe. Intralinks now has a mature platform that can be used for a diverse range of information sharing use cases, having been developed over time to satisfy the broader demands presented by confidential file sharing and content collaboration.

Aside from supplying data rooms, we help banks work with financial monitors and regulators, we help banks work with mortgage brokers to share customer data safely and we help banks’ internal teams, such as legal, business transformation and HR, work on highly sensitive projects. We give them all a secure platform to host documents and collaborate on them – quickly and easily.

Becoming the ‘department of yes’

Intralinks wants to empower global IT to become the ‘department of yes’ in banks when it comes to enabling secure information sharing – especially beyond the boundaries of the organisation. It is highly likely that our platform will be in play somewhere in the bank already. So, where a requirement emerges to rapidly and securely share information with external parties, and where the default answer has previously been to prohibit or delay the requirement with an internal project, I urge you to consider whether the capability may already be in place. If Intralinks’ technology is already approved and signed off, you can join the dots within hours and kick-start projects very quickly instead of stalling them.

intralinksIntralinks is an exhibitor at Handelsblatt Conference EBR – European Banking Regulation on November 28th – 30th 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany.