CIO Profiles: Franck Fatras Of Capital Access Network
Leaving a major company for a startup is a big learning experience, this tech chief says.
Franck Fatras CTO, Capital Access Network
How long at Capital Access Network: Twelve years at this financial services provider.
Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Building our Enterprise Information System. EIS is the engine for all of our internal processes and workflows, plus it stores 13 years of small-business data and then turns that information into scoring, modeling, and risk management profiles.
Decision I wish I could do over: Leaving a major corporation for a startup is always a big decision and a gamble. I don't regret joining a smaller company, and, thankfully, things have turned out better than I ever imagined--but the first few years were much tougher than I expected. More up-front due diligence might have prepared me better. The realization that resources wouldn't always be available and I'd have to continuously stretch my time and my team's effort to the limit was difficult. I had to learn ways to avoid burning out my team and learn how to bootstrap, just like others working in entrepreneurial environments.
On The Job
Size of IT team: 100
Our largest initiative involves extremely rapid enhancement of our online presence and capability. We want to better serve e-commerce merchants and expedite the expansion of our small-business customer base.
We're implementing a new scoring methodology, which will speed scorecard development, expand risk and marketing indicator analysis, and support our ability to help our subsidiaries and partners provide more capital with less risk.
A new CRM system for our sales channel is under way, completing a full integration of Microsoft Dynamics with our EIS, enabling easier data capture and use at more touch points and with greater relevance.
One thing I'm trying to do better: I want to expand existing resources and upgrade skills by cross-training and creating more subject-matter experts. I plan to rotate team members between projects, which will give them a broader view of the business.
Lesson learned from the recession: Diversification of the labor pool and associated cost bases is really important. Our Central American operating and development center provided us with both access to excellent talent and a strong ROI on our projects during the recession, enabling our Caribbean Basin and Central American initiatives.
What the federal government's top tech priority should be: The government could be a great source for online information and service, but its Web properties are often hard to use. A good Web architect could build .gov sites that are useful and reduce the need to speak to someone.
College: Collège Roncherolles, in France
Favorite sports figure: Team Lotus's Colin Chapman was the most innovative person in racing. He took aerodynamics seriously, which resulted in the fast formula cars we see today.
Best book read recently:Joan Of Arc, by Mary Gordon. As a youngster in France, I had to walk to school and every day I passed the spot where she was burned at the stake. I thought it was time to find out more about her.
If I weren't a tech chief, I'd be ... a curator at the Louvre in Paris or maybe a National Geographic photographer
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.