Season 1, Episode 27: Modernizing IT at the IMF

Business Excelleration Podcast

Host Jay Ruffin talks with Edward C. Anderson, CIO and IT Department Director at the IMF about the challenge of modernization, and the integrated tools and cultural shift required to help staff become better knowledge workers. Ruffin also discusses how his IT staff has helped the IMF adapt to the pandemic, and how his team has participated in IMF discussions around cryptocurrency, blockchain, and other technology-driven issues, and have helped their organization develop strategies for finance technology implementations.

Show Notes:

Jay gets the conversation started by asking Ed if they are integrating services to streamline efficiency for those within the IMF. Ed shares how they are working to modernize a number of internal services right now—both as effectively and efficiently as they can do individually, but also as integrated as possible. Listen in and hear how the change of internal processes and culture have actually been the hardest parts. With information becoming easier to find, the shift towards utilization of that information becomes the predominate time-consumer. Ed says that multiple pieces must come together for modernization to succeed.

What was their goal in coming into the modernization process with culture? Ed shares the 5 different groups they specified with goals and processes, and the crucial role integration plays in their successes. Learn about how to define and measure value associated with these processes, and how the intangibles are hardest to measure. Culture change is one of these intangibles that are not so simple, as their ongoing quest continues.

Jay shifts the conversation to cryptocurrency from an IMF perspective and what the delivery of strategy and mission of IT is. IT plays such a significant role that they created the Digital Advisory Unit in order to have internal consultants available for the various departments that had role in the FinTech agenda. This unit serves to offer advice, consulting, events, and thought-leadership for all internal departments. Digital risk, cyber risk, and policy development are big factors in both their supporting and developing of FinTech. Ed says this conversation is growing. In regards to change, using this advisory service helps to develop a comfort level with new technologies and partnerships to deliver as much value to their members as possible.

Directing attention towards the pandemic, Jay asks Ed how this has impacted the IMF. With quickly pivoting to a work from home strategy, he discusses the enhanced infrastructure, collaboration tools, web meeting tools, platforms, and processes that had to be both effective and secure. Their Help Desk increased with this new set of tools and cultural adaptations had to occur. The challenge they are facing now is fatigue. Wanting to make the conversion from home to office as smooth as possible.

Will working from home stick? IMF is working to go forward with adapting a hybrid model, and making the conversion go as smooth as possible. Is there a strategy to deal with fatigue with screens? Ed talks about their techniques to aid this by shortening meetings, encouraging blocking off breaks, and asking for help. IMF wants to take care of their people and started a Care Network and Peers for a Respectable Workplace to create mechanisms in meeting people where they are at.

To wrap things up, they discuss the CIO hurdles of cyber security, remote access, and bandwidth, along with Ed’s final thoughts as IMF moves forward. How has IMF leveraged tools to be more dynamic? Their mobility process already positioned them with the fundamentals and necessary applications, they just enhanced and expanded this in a quicker fashion. Ultimately, COVID confirmed their need for the mobility project. As IMF goes forward, what’s the one thing that Ed thinks is the biggest challenge? Without hesitating, Ed says it is changing the management and culture. Culture and leadership have to be moving in the right direction to utilize the tools available to create a better outcome. Their Office of Innovation and Change continues to help push the culture forward, and projects a bright future for IMF.

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