Indonesian bank CIO Johmar Gazo on his organisation's strategies

T.C. Seow

Is there any particular technology area that you would be focusing on?
Our early areas of focus were on our infrastructure, IT operations and security. Faced with ageing infrastructure at end of life with constraints to support our growth, we took the opportunity to focus very early in moving towards being private cloud ready, and virtualized a significant portion of our servers. We will continue to explore efficiencies and opportunities in the application of both private and public cloud technology.

As we industrialize our core banking processes, we'll focus on offering more of our services through digital channels. We recognize that our customers continue to grow in what they expect to be able to see and do for themselves online.  In supporting this growth in information, and the constant need to remain compliant with evolving regulations, we are also focused in maturing our capabilities in business intelligence. 

How did you become the CIO and if somebody were to step into your shoes, he or she must have what kind of qualities or attributes?
I started my career as a software engineer, and grew up being part of and eventually running large scale technology oriented projects within Financial Services, five of those years within the CBA in Australia prior to getting the wonderful opportunity as CIO for the Commonwealth Bank in Indonesia.

I'm still learning myself about what it takes to be a good CIO. Nowadays, with the speed at which new technology develops, I don't think a CIO needs to be an expert at everything technology, but they need to know how technology can be used to enable and drive business strategy. A key part of that is understanding enterprise architecture—not only from a technology perspective, but from a capability perspective.  Having a solid foundation in project delivery and how to drive change and build capability is helpful in the ever-changing nature of business. 

There's a lot, I believe, that's also required on the softer side of one's skills,—being able to communicate, build close relationships, and influence—with peers, with teams, with partners and suppliers—across technology and business.

Being hungry to learn—being curious, whether it's about business, about emerging technologies, or about people, is a healthy habit. Also, being able to step back and see how things might connect, and make sense of their connections is helpful.

Probably the last thing is being able to lead, get the best from, and grow people. When you're leading change it can sometimes be easy to just focus on the short term. But transformations are often multi-year and very difficult journeys. So being able to gather people, often from different disciplines, different backgrounds, and now more often, different cultures too - and motivate them towards a common goal over a sustained period of time is essential.

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