Change is the only Constant: Be Prepared and Stay Nimble Embrace Disruption, Don't Avoid it

By Kent Llewelyn, CIO, TAB Bank

Kent Llewelyn, CIO, TAB Bank

We are living in a time when disruption rears its head more frequently than ever before. Depending on your situation or mindset this can either be the cause of great excitement or extreme anxiety. Over the course of my 20+ years in the technology space, I’ve realized the key is to act on the disruption as opposed to being disrupted. At this point, you are saying “easier said than done” to which I agree. Acting on the disruption takes far more effort and energy than sitting on the sideline and hoping it all goes away. The days of sitting on the fence are long gone. Those that choose the wait and see approach will be lost and forgotten.

Navigating these waters can be treacherous and overwhelming at times. Like a Quarterback that drops back to pass, it is critical to keep our eyes downfield and not stare at the oncoming rush. Decreasing your visibility will result in missing those big-play opportunities that are necessary to stay excited and motivated. Although big plays are important and feel good, taking it play by play and moving the ball down the field is the key to success. I view technology in the same way. Don’t put yourself in a situation that requires a hail-mary pass at the end of the game. Instead, create a well-designed game plan that will put you in a position to act on disruption as it occurs.

Agility is king

The phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” is used to indicate that spreading your focus around will often lead to being average at many things and great at none. We live in a time where banking is being disrupted like never before. Trying to compete with fin-techs on providing the flashiest and most innovative apps is a futile endeavor. As technology leaders in the banking industry, our goal should be to become master integrators. Understanding that the goal is to provide the best products and services with the knowledge that we cannot nor, should we attempt to build them ourselves. Internal resources should focus on things that differentiate you from the competition. Leveraging tech and services from partners and incorporating them into your suite of services keeps you flexible and able to provide the best possible services to your customers.

The ability to stay nimble and continue to provide best of breed solutions to your customers should be the primary goal. Embracing the open API revolution and creating a loosely coupled application network provides exceptional agility. When executed correctly you will have created an infrastructure that allows for rapid replacement of services with little to no impact on your upstream tech. Seek out Partners that can be masters of certain technologies and services. This is the best way to continuously provide top-notch services to your business and customers.

Containers to the rescue

We live in exciting times from a technological standpoint. What used to be extremely complicated and difficult to implement is becoming simple and easy. With orchestration tools like Kubernetes, companies are now able to create robust and scalable infrastructures at a fraction of the cost. With the creation of containers, things that would have been completely out of reach to small and mid-sized financial institutions are now feasible.

"The ability to stay nimble and continue to provide best of breed solutions to your customers should be the primary goal”

Containers are a great way to keep your infrastructure light and agile by increasing the number of deployment locations. The ability to provide active-active systems and services by orchestrating the deployment of your applications across data centers on-prem or in the cloud is a reality. These advances in technology are leveling the playing field for smaller financial institutions. Containers simplify continuous integration, continuous delivery by decoupling the software from the hardware. By leveraging orchestration platforms like Kubernetes you can provide high availability and scale with the best of them.

In today’s landscape it is important to be prepared for disruptions, so we can focus on leveraging them to our advantage. Automating our infrastructure while decoupling from aging systems will provide the confidence necessary to navigate the constant change on the horizon. We must remember that the attitude we have while seeking a solution can greatly impact the outcome.

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