Implementing Technology Platforms To Enhance Customer's Experience
Perhaps the biggest challenge we face is to simultaneously meet the technology needs that make Freddie Mac a competitive company fulfilling a statutory mission to support the U.S. mortgage market while also working with our federal regulator to implement technology solutions for the entire mortgage finance industry.
Like many financial services institutions, we have a large, complex technology environment that requires a lot of time to maintain and sustain. At the same time, we are looking to shift more of our IT budget to investing in competitive differentiators. To do this, we are looking at ways to shift more of our commodity offerings to variable cost services, where we only pay for what we use. This will free up IT budget dollars to fund game- changing technology.
Perhaps the most exciting development in this area has been a multi-year project to standardize the mortgage industry’s data formats and collection processes. The more our industry standardizes data, the more effective its database will become. Another trend at Freddie Mac is the consumerization of IT. When I arrived here two years ago, we didn't allow iPhones or iPads and had no wireless capability. As I said, at that time my goal was to make it as easy to work at Freddie Mac’s offices as it is to work from your local Starbucks. We now support BYOD and have wireless throughout the campus. We are now researching for BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) possibility so that Freddie Mac employees can use their own PC's for work in a secure manner.
My roles and responsibilities as a CIO
I spent my first year at Freddie Mac focused more on enhancing IT- that is remediating legacy applications, delivering business projects, and enhancing IT's ability to plan, deliver, and operate. In the past year I have focused more on defining our business technology strategy and recruiting top talent.
Another critical role for me as the CIO is to recruit top talent. A CIO is only as good as his or her team, and I have been lucky to recruit some great people to Freddie Mac.
Lessons I learned as a CIO that can help youI came to Freddie Mac to use my experience to improve the company. But, I have also received as much as I have contributed. I have benchmarked our IT capabilities against best-in-class firms. In areas where we need to improve, I have reached out to those CIO's who have something to teach us and they generously provided many useful lessons which we are putting to good use. My recommendation is to not be shy about asking for help outside your organization. It can accelerate your learning and provide unique perspectives that you can use to improve your organization.