A good CIO needs to know technology and business. And sometimes he needs to know how to cook.
Consider Paulino Ramos Rodrigues, CIO and COO of Sicredi and winner of the Oracle Excellence Award for CIO of the Year—Latin America. A few years ago, the CEO of Sicredi, one of the largest credit union systems in Brazil, asked him to take over the management of IT.
“As a company, I knew we had all the ingredients we needed to be successful,” Rodrigues says. “When I became CIO, I essentially became sort of a chef—selecting and mixing the ingredients and cooking them together so they’re tasty. Over the past four years, our IT staff has really worked together to transform the business through technology.”
Oracle’s products have allowed us to build a new omnichannel platform.”
–Paulino Ramos Rodrigues, CIO and COO, Sicredi
Sicredi, which operates in 11 Brazilian states and boasts 1,394 branches, 18,753 employees, 3.2 million members, and US$13 billion in assets, has been growing 20 percent to 30 percent per year over the past 10 years. Still, Sicredi competes in a highly concentrated retail financial market, where the five biggest banks account for roughly 85 percent of assets.
To continue to grow, Sicredi needed to roll out a wider range of products and services to compete against the much larger banks. “Today we not only have a portfolio of products and services that are equal to the largest banks in Brazil, but we’ve improved our cost-to-income ratio by 15 percent, which is remarkable,” Rodrigues says.
To deliver those products and services, Rodrigues and his team developed a service-oriented reference architecture and set about transforming the credit union’s IT infrastructure with an investment in the full stack of Oracle solutions. Oracle SOA Suite and other Oracle Fusion Middleware components now connect the company’s legacy systems and its new front-end applications and interfaces.
Having overhauled the IT infrastructure of one of Brazil’s largest credit unions, Sicredi CIO Paulino Ramos Rodrigues has learned a few things. And he has a few recommendations for other IT leaders:
Create an enterprise architecture. “Have your target architecture in place and work in that direction no matter what. It’s always tempting to take shortcuts, but in the long run they can become a problem.”
Find the money. “Money makes things happen, so you need to partner with the business on your IT budget. 90 percent of our IT budget is embedded in business and strategic initiatives, which means the business leaders can defend my budget items better than I can.”
Find people who do things better than you do. “Have some humility, and look for organizations that have something to teach you. Get to know other people and best practices wherever they are.”
Focus on execution. “Every two weeks we have a meeting with all our senior management to follow up on projects, so everyone knows where things stand and everyone’s on the same page. Put the governance, structures, and processes in place so that everything moves in the right direction.”
“Oracle’s products have allowed us to build a new omnichannel platform that provides our customers with the same experience regardless of the device they are using, from iPads to phones to the call center,” Rodrigues says.
In addition, Sicredi streamlined many of its processes using Oracle technologies. For example, 80 percent of the bank’s profits come from its credit and loan operations, so streamlining the loan process can have a big impact. “We transformed our credit cycle using Oracle products such as Oracle Business Process Management Suite, Oracle Business Activity Monitoring, and Oracle WebCenter solutions,” Rodrigues says. “They’ve allowed us to make our credit cycle process quicker, cheaper, and more reliable.”
Having a strong relationship with Oracle has been critical to Sicredi’s success, Rodrigues says. “We wouldn’t have been able to deploy all the projects we have in the last few years without such a close working relationship,” he says.
Even though Sicredi has been a long-time Oracle Database customer, it keeps a close eye on new technologies. “We don’t buy Oracle because it’s Oracle,” Rodrigues says. “We buy Oracle because we perform a whole selection process with many phases and criteria and use independent resources to evaluate new products.”
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