by Rebecca Merrett

Q&A: Teachers Credit Union CIO, David Chapman

Jan 23, 20125 mins
CareersIT LeadershipIT Management

Before recently joining Teachers Credit Union as CIO, David Chapman was program director for the Westpac and St George systems integration program. As CIO, he will be front and centre during the credit union’s transition to Teachers Mutual Bank in April this year that’s subject to APRA approval.

Chapman spoke with CIO Australia to discuss his part in the credit union’s move to Teachers Mutual Bank and his role as CIO.

What does an average day involve for you at Teachers Credit Union?

I’ve been here two weeks so an average day is hard to layout at the moment. It [involves] listening, evaluating, getting to know everyone at the moment, know the business and know the culture. I think I’ll use those relationships going forward to get some strategy development and all that, but that’s yet to come. At the moment, it’s about being a sponge and absorbing it all.

What are some challenges you face in your role as CIO so far?

I’d like to see the IT and PMO government functions built into the business, be an integral part of that rather than the traditional IT stuff that is a little bit separate. If we can make good in that, then we’re building up good people in relationship management and delivering on our project portfolios. I’ll be happy if we can do that by the end of the year.

I’ve found the infrastructure base pretty solid. We don’t have to really worry about that which is great. The previous IT manager did a good job there. We’ve got the normal coordination and building the IT strategy along with the business strategy. But to my point, I’m learning those things at the moment, and listening to people so that we can make sure they align going forward. That’s the main one on my plate at the moment.

I’m getting to know the culture of the place. You can be forceful in some places and less so in others. Or, there’s less so of me to be so in others. I think this might be one of the latter — it’s seems [to be] a very collaborative environment, so that’s pleasing too. I’ll get that all under my belt before I make any really serious decisions and move forward.

What are some projects you’re working on or will be working on?

Well, obviously there’s the move to the Teachers Mutual Bank in April [subject to APRA approval]. That’s sort of front and centre so that’s a big one.

We’ve got data warehousing that’s going to be a fairly big one as well. As I said, we’ve got a great infrastructure base here, but we want to use that base to the best of our ability and get the most out of it [as much as] we can. So, we’re looking at BI tools and that sort of thing as it comes up.

We’ve got compliance and governance, of course, a banking sector that’s all banking business, that’s a big one at the moment. But I’m not sure yet what it means to us from a compliance perspective, the difference between being a credit union and a bank. We’ll look at that and make sure that’s all in place as well.

That’s probably the big ones for the next six months, at least.

What are the three biggest issues facing CIOs of today?

That’s a great question. I think keeping up with the technology and making it relevant to the business is a big one. Near field communications, mobile technology, internet banking — they are all part of that. They are good catch words, but it’s how you apply them properly in a business environment and make them really useful and deliver value to the members.

Everyone is focussing on costs these days, of course, so keeping that down while we continue to deliver a great service to the business and to the members.

And making us an enabler rather than an obstacle [is another big one]. I’ve seen a lot of IT organisations that when the business starts to engage it’s, “Oh no, I’ve got to talk to IT”. I’d rather the first words of their lips to be, “Hey, let’s grab IT and do the right thing here”.

They are probably the three big ones I’d love to hit.

What’s your favourite gadget?

You know, it’s probably going to be disappointing, but my favourite gadget would be my Leatherman knife and pocket set. You know, one of those fold out, ‘do it all’ tools — they are wonderful. No matter what I need to do at home, I can do. iPads and things are tools of trade and they are good fun, but sometimes you’ve just got to plug in a light bulb… I love my Leatherman. It goes everywhere with me.

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