Credit Suisse's Balancing Act

Game-changing IT projects require time and investment. Wall Street likes quick wins and cost savings. How one public-company CIO balances the two.

Credit Suisse CIO Tom Sanzone knows all about the torrid pace of life on Wall Street and its impact on long-term IT strategies and spending. "It's a difficult thing to manage because companies, from a practical standpoint, have to be focused on quarterly and yearly performance. But many things in IT are multiyear," Sanzone says.

MORE ON CIO.com

Does Your Work in IT Matter to Wall Street?

How to Keep Wall Street Analysts Happy

How TJX Avoided Wall Street's Wrath

Sanzone makes it less difficult for his business peers at Credit Suisse because he insists that his multiyear technology strategy is always aligned with Credit Suisse's multiyear business strategy. "In that way, the business and IT are both thinking long term," he says.

But just as good money managers maintain a broad portfolio of investments, Sanzone's IT portfolio includes a mix of quick-hit, tactical initiatives and more intense, strategic ones. To make this plan work, however, he says there needs to be "an open and active dialogue with the business to make sure you're both on same page," which also allows IT to secure funding for big projects because there are fewer surprises.

"[The process] is never easy," Sanzone says, "but it's much easier if you can be hand-in-hand with the business developing a two- to three-year strategy that IT aligns to and highlights which projects are strategic and which are tactical."

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 secrets of successful remote IT teams