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Société Générale to centralise global IT infrastructure

06 August 2009  |  7030 views  |  0
In a bid to improve operational efficiency across the bank, Société Générale is centralising its IT infrastructure management into a new Global Technologies and Services (GTS) division.

IT: A True Underdog Story

07 August 2009  |  3725 views  |  0

I found that if you have a goal, that you might not reach it. But if you don't have one, then you are never disappointed. And I gotta tell ya, it feels phenomenal.~  Peter LaFleur

Every decade or so, business decides to re-invent itself.  And in every cycle of reinvention; there is a new buzz word or "school of thought" that is trumpeted as the answer to the problems of the day.  Of course, this idea rarely succeeds because companies are in many ways like people--individual, unique and complex with their own particular set of idiosyncrasies.  Or to put it another way...companies are like sports teams (preferably Dodgeball since that's where I got these quotes.) But IT is the player that you know you need but aren't quite sure how to use. 

IT is still like the kid who gets picked last.  You know, that kid--the one no one wants to pick  but someone has to take.  Yes, the perpetual outsider who might be useful somewhere down the line if you can just get them to learn how to be ready for anything.

Patches O'Houlihan: If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.
Justin: What? [Patches throws a wrench and hits Justin in the face]

In the 1970s and 1980s, centralization was the order of the day for IT.  IT was the hub of intelligence and information.  The system worked but IT was largely disconnected from the rest of the business and there was no requirement for anyone in IT to understand the larger business.  This lack of communication and understanding between IT and the rest of the business created disconnects that manifested in scope creep, delays and missed opportunities.  So the decision was made to de-centralize IT.  But in the process of decentralization, IT was made responsible for and accountable to the needs of individual business units. But for the most part, IT was still the outsider trying to decipher what everyone else was saying.

Peter La Fleur: I know. I just said that.
White Goodman: I know you just said that.
Peter La Fleur: Okay, I'm not sure where you're going with this.
White Goodman: Well, I'm not sure where *you're* going with this.
Peter La Fleur: That's what I said.
White Goodman: That's what I'm saying to *you*.
Peter La Fleur: All right.
White Goodman: ...TouchÈ.

But maybe this time, as banks move once again to centralization of IT, they will combine the best of the centralized and decentralized models to make IT a real part of the team.  After all, that's when and how underdogs win.

TagsPost-trade & opsWholesale banking

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 12 August, 2009, 16:07

Tracy, I very much enjoyed your analogy on the disconnect between business and IT and your tongue in cheek way of highlighting the lack of communication and understanding between the two.


The impact of this well recognised language barrier can have significant consequences. And when it comes to customer service within retail banks, this can directly result in loss of customers – an unattractive prospect in the current market environment.


It really would be great if a happy medium could be found and IT at last becomes a ‘real part of the team’. In the words of White Goodman, the ideal scenario between banks and their customers has always been “I know you. You know you. And I know you know that I know you.”  However, Mr. Goodman’s words should also apply to the relationship between IT and business.


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