by Jennifer O'Brien

Pivotal CIO sees big promise for IT industry with open banking initiative

May 30, 2019
APIsArtificial IntelligenceBig Data

Pivotal’s newly-appointed CIO of APJ, Shaun Norris, said Australia’s open banking initiative – set to take effect July 2019 – will not only bring competition and innovation to financial services but will also boost the ICT sector.

Norris, who’s background includes roles at AWS, JP Morgan Chase and Standard Chartered Bank, caught up with CIO Australia to discuss the state of the industry, and how organisations across the region are aligning and shaping business strategy with IT in a bid to create tangible digital transformation results.

For starters, the Singapore-based IT professional said he’s adamant the open banking initiative will boost innovation and signals opportunity for the data-sharing business model.

“You’re now having regulators mandate really rapid changes that are all technology driven that are going to require banks to share data and do new levels of interoperability that they haven’t done in the past.

“That’s driving a lot of scrambling to figure out how do we deliver technology in shorter time scales and in different patterns than we used before.”

No doubt, anything that gets organisations closer to an API-fist strategy is going to be good for customers and the industry, he added.

Certainly, the need for new products and services to serve increasingly multichannel customers and create more personalised relationships requires the development of open APIs.

Shaun Norris

“Once you get the foundation – everything from the culture that’s used to build the APIs and the operations culture that’s used to running them, and the faster feedback cycles all the way from the business leaders through to the people delivering these platforms – if banking organisations can learn those new motions and new manoeuvres to deliver this – if they do, that’s going to set the wheels in motion to deliver much more innovation more quickly for customers in the future.”

Additionally, Norris said other hot trends to watch include the continual push from monolithic legacy applications into the transformative realm of microservices – but taking it one step further and implementing event-centric architectures.

“The market has really accepted this message that moving to a microservices architecture is the way forward for a lot of legacy platforms. That’s quite well established now and doesn’t seem to be too exciting or groundbreaking, but what is new is using the streaming data and event-driven architecture.”

Non-traditional role

Given the twists and turns in the market, Norris said he’s excited about his new role – and even more so given he’s not operating in a traditional CIO fashion.

“Eighty per cent of my time is out working with Pivotal customers and helping them in their various stages of their transformation and technology uplift roadmap.

“We see customers at various stages of it. . . Typically they are bought into this idea that they need to transform, however they define that. It’s pretty clear. Our opinion in the market is that being better at software delivery is really non optional.

“One of the organisations I worked for in the past, JP Morgan Chase, their CEO, Jamie Dimon, is on record as saying, ‘They are a technology company with a banking licence,’ and I think that encapsulates what large enterprises are looking at today.”

Similarly, he said all organisations today need to recognise and harness the power of IT in order to thrive in their respective markets.

He said organisations must consider a raft of questions when undergoing the transformation journey.

“How do organisations measure themselves and benchmark. . . How are we doing against our peers. Are we ahead? Are we behind? There’s always this slight nervousness that we’re a little behind – regardless of what organisation you’re in.”

One of the things he’s been paying close attention of late is the research out of the DORA Foundation (DevOps Research and Assessment) by Dr Nicole Forsgren and Gene Kim, the author of the Phoenix Project.

Their work aims to give organisations a clear path forward with guidance to improve resource management, productivity and quality of their IT teams.

“They have come up with four big metrics of how organisations measure themselves. They are quite simple. It’s a combination of stability mixed with throughput. Can you go faster but also be stable? And they’re suggesting four ways that organisations can benchmark themselves against the industry.

“Things like, ‘How long does it take developers to get code into production? And how often does that journey happen? And when you do move code from development into production, how often is that a smooth experience? Or how often does it fail’?

“‘And then once you have an application that’s up and running in production, if something does go wrong and service is disrupted, how quickly do you recover from that?’”

He said their research shows that “elite performers” tend to be deploying to code with almost no delay. “They are doing multiple updates to production on a daily basis. They have very low change failure rates that approach zero. They are recovering from failures almost instantaneously.

“And the interesting punchline to all of this research is that it shows that the organisations that are performing better on that scale, are actually performing better in the business marketplace.

“It’s not just a technology thing – this is hard impartial industry data suggesting that if you perform better as a technology organisation, you actually perform better at business, whether you measure that with profit or dot capitalisation growth.”