This tech chief is most proud of his work helping get a credit union's data center up and running after 9/11.
Barry Grant CTO, iQor
How long at iQor: Nine years at this business services provider.
Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: I was the new CTO of Municipal Credit Union in New York on Sept. 11 when the company's only data center, a block from the World Trade Center, was destroyed. MCU's customers -- many of the firefighters and police officers leading rescue and recovery efforts -- didn't have access to their funds. Our team worked six days straight to get the data center back online and our first responders access to their funds.
On The Job
IT budget: About $50 million
Size of IT team: 300
Finish deployment of our big data infrastructure. The processing speed of NoSQL databases and various open source tools let us (and our clients) use data strategically to deliver better customer service.
Integrate robust business intelligence and reporting tools. We're rolling out a BI platform called QeyMetrics that structures and translates data into actionable insights.
Accelerate use of speech and text analytics. It's now possible to translate every customer interaction into unstructured data. We're helping our customers turn this transactional data into insights that drive improvements in products and services.
One thing I'm looking to do better: This year, iQor established the Center for Applied Analytics, a cross-functional team of data scientists who help our clients use analytics to improve customer service. I want my team to adopt an analytics mindset so we're delivering the big data infrastructure and BI tools that help our scientists transform data into insights that make customers happier and our clients more profitable.
The most disruptive force in my industry today is ... the digitization of the contact center. Advances in technology are turning call centers into big data-generating machines. We now record 100% of calls and screen activity. We then unleash our data scientists on terabytes of structured and unstructured data sets to identify patterns that reside in the millions of recorded client interactions and use that information to improve the customer service we deliver.
Why IT projects go wrong:When a program doesn't work the way it should, it can almost always be traced back to a lack of open, honest dialogue between the end user and the development team.
What I need from tech vendors: Clarity of vision and a clear road map of the future. Too often, vendors change direction with the latest IT fad. I want vendors that can clearly articulate the problems they're trying to solve and then take aim at the problems through innovation.
Person I'd most like to have lunch with: Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, because I admire how he took a single idea and made it reality
Favorite band: Earth, Wind & Fire
Best book read recently: I reread Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein every year; its moral lessons about civic responsibility are more important than ever
Last vacation: To Aruba -- 12 years ago
If I weren't a CIO, I would ... go back to being a DJ, which I was in my younger years
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial ServicesIT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
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