An Interview with Richard Neiland


Somers: How much is the mobile channel factoring in Deutsche Bank’s IT strategy in Asia; and what are some of the security concerns communicating through this channel?



Neiland: Mobile channel technology continues to develop rapidly and is critical to the success of our Global Transaction Banking business. We already have a world class offering and continue to invest heavily in maintaining our market leading solutions. Product coverage, availability, functional richness and security are all essential considerations within our IT strategy. Authentication, encryption and data security are constantly invested in and updated to ensure the highest possible level of security.



Somers: Deutsche Bank’s Global CIO for Asset Management has recently commented on the benefits of cloud computing and the positive role it is playing within Deutsche Bank. What are your views on the potential that cloud computing can offer the wider financial services market?



Neiland: Cloud Computing represents the logical evolution of how the industry provides, sources and consumes IT services. Our business is already highly regulated and will become increasingly so in the future. The single biggest impediment to wholesale adoption within the Financial Services market is not the availability of the underlying technology which is already there, but how it can be implemented in a way that presents no additional risk. The natural phased approach is for financial institutions to internalise their cloud computing within their own infrastructure, firewalls and security and then progressively migrate aspects to public or community cloud models. I think this is a sensible approach that allows us to maximise the benefits of the offering with a cautious adoption model that never puts our clients at risk.




Somers:  What are your IT priorities for the next 12-18 months?



Neiland: Innovative technology is the key to achieving the Deutsche Bank strategy. In every business where Deutsche Bank has the most innovative, scalable and reliable technology platform we are number one in the market, for example, in global FX where we dominate our competitors. The key to this innovation is maintaining a long term focus on the architectural vision, excellence in governance and disciplined execution.



Underlying this is our most important asset, our people. We need to continuously strive to realise the full potential of our IT professionals in Deutsche Bank and make Deutsche Bank a magnet for the best and the brightest in the industry. Much of this will be achieved by adapting our operating model and focusing on leveraging the natural synergies in our technology and people investments across businesses, functions and geographies.



Somers: Given Deutsche Bank has a strong worldwide presence, is there a global IT mandate; and how closely aligned is this with your regional technology roadmap?



Neiland: Deutsche Bank is a global organisation with a global strategy and a clear management agenda as expressed by our Chairman, Dr Ackermann. The global IT mandate is equally unequivocal and shared by everyone at Deutsche Bank. From a regional perspective, we have to ensure that we fully contribute to the evolution and development of the global IT strategy. At the same time, we have to ensure that we are strong advocates for a region that encompasses 17 markets and that the inevitable variations of requirement, regulatory environment or business jurisdiction are considered properly within the global IT schema. We are successful in this because we are tightly connected into a global organisation and have a seat at the table.



Somers:  In your view, what are some of the emerging IT trends within Asia’s global markets sector?



Neiland: The continued economic growth in the region and maturation of business climates in strategic countries such as China, India and Korea provide enormous potential. Market connectivity, low latency and world class risk technology are among the key differentiating technology offerings.



Somers: The Global Technology Capital Markets Department (GT CM) was established to improve Deutsche Bank’s operating processes with international financial markets. What are the department’s primary functionalities; and what have been the benefits realised across the bank?



Neiland: Global Technology Capital Markets (GT CM) was recently established as part of the strategic evolution of our new IT operating model for Deutsche Bank. The new operating model has been extremely successful in aligning the functional offerings of IT into a more efficient and high quality solution. A good example is the establishment of a single unified Production Management group across the whole Deutsche Bank franchise. This group has made tremendous progress in standardising processes and technology that ultimately provide us with better incident resolution, higher availability, few production issues and greater client satisfaction.



Somers: How do you maintain a cohesive IT strategy across multiple regions in which regulations and market maturity significantly differ?



Neiland: The variation in regulation, market maturity and business jurisdiction make life very interesting for everyone working in Technology, particularly in the Asia Pacific region where we are located in 17 different markets. We are very successful in this because we combine strong leadership and expertise on the ground in each location, supported by a global IT organisation and strategy that maximises the use of global solutions but stills retains the agility to provide local solutions when needed.



Somers: What skills are you seeking in IT staff right now and why?



Neiland: I think it’s difficult to single out one particular skill over another. Deutsche Bank is an institution that prides itself on innovation and diversity and although it may sound a little clichéd, our people really are our biggest assets. One of my primary goals is to ensure we provide the most rewarding and challenging careers for our employees. We recognise that IT is a very dynamic environment, therefore we’ve recently undertaken an extensive Competency Mapping training process within Global Technology which identified the key competencies that we need in order to drive the business forward.



Coupled with that, we’ve invested in a Competency Management tool that will enable our employees to personally tailor a competency development plan that will support and develop their career within the bank. Through all of this, and with our new operating model offering increased internal mobility opportunities, we have made a great start in 2009/10 in identifying and building talent across all functional areas of IT.



Somers:  Every leader, particularly at your level, has a legacy they wish to be remembered for. What is yours?



Neiland: Speaking truthfully, I have no great desire for a personal legacy. I do this job because I enjoy it, I get to work with a fantastic group of people and for an organisation that reflects my values. What is important to me is to continue to be part of the senior IT leadership team that continues to contribute to the long term success of Deutsche Bank and makes Global Technology the employer of choice for anyone considering a career in IT.