Synchrony banks on pandemic shift to boost business agility

CIO Carol Juel sees Synchrony Works, a project that the payment processor implemented to shift more than 16,000 employees to WFH during the pandemic, as a blueprint for fueling agility.

Synchrony banks on pandemic shift to boost business agility

Modern IT organizations are nimble, capable of adapting foundational tools and processes under duress. Synchrony, which processes payments  on behalf of businesses, deployed virtualization technology and cloud software, as well as multifactor authentication and other security technologies, to get more than 16,000 employees working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative, Synchrony Works, empowered 13,500 call center representatives across the US, India and the Philippines to execute customer service and collections tasks from their home residences by early April, says Synchrony CIO Carol Juel. Works, which garnered a 2021 CIO 100 award, also made it possible for around 3,000 US corporate employees to work from home within days of office closures in mid-March.

“What we proved was that every job could be done remotely,” Juel says. She credits Synchrony’s multi-year tech transformation, which includes managing the company with more modern tools, with providing a foundation on which Works could be built. But Synchrony’s transformation is also another sign of how extremely motivated IT teams are marshaling their strengths to accelerate shifts to digital capabilities.

Eighty-one percent of 812 CIOs reported increasing IT innovation in setting up employees to work effectively from home, according to IDG’s 2021 State of the CIO survey. Top tech vendors are feeling it, too, reporting record sales of cloud software. During its fiscal third quarter announcement in April, Microsoft revealed that its cloud sales had grown by 33%, to $17.7 billion, year over year. The results emboldened CEO Satya Nadella to claim, “Over a year into the pandemic, digital adoption curves aren’t slowing down. They’re accelerating.”

Cloud and security bolster remote call center

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