Business Technology Strategic Plan: 2013 - 2017
Business Technology Strategy Focus Areas
The business technology strategy of the FDIC is comprised of three key focus areas: applications modernization, strategic imperatives, and business agility. Each of these areas is detailed in the sections that follow.
The FDIC has a large and complex applications portfolio consisting of in-house developed applications (custom applications) and purchased applications (Commercial-Off-The-Shelf or COTS applications) that are used to perform day-to-day operations. The custom applications are maintained and upgraded by FDIC and contractor staff. The COTS applications are upgraded through releases of new software by the vendor that provided the original software.
Many of the custom applications were developed more than 10 years ago and were written using programming technologies that are obsolete. The Consolidated Applications Modernization Strategy (CAMS) project was initiated in 2009 to address the business impact of technology obsolescence in the FDICs custom applications and to develop a strategy to mitigate the associated risks within a 5-7 year period. A portion of the CAMS analysis identified technologies used within the applications portfolio that are obsolete either no longer supported by the manufacturer or where there is significant difficulty recruiting programmers that can repair applications using these technologies. The analysis also identified technologies that are used in FDIC applications that are no longer compatible with the future design of the information technology architecture. Approximately one-third of the applications were found to use one or more of these obsolete or incompatible technologies.
Stakeholders that had an understanding of the business operational processes, data, and technologies related to the applications portfolio identified opportunities for business process improvement and technical obsolescence mitigation. Using this input, the teams risk ranked the applications to determine which should be upgraded first. Those applications that were mission critical, had multiple obsolete technologies and had gaps in fulfilling the business need were ranked highest. Business divisions completed road maps that document the sequence in which obsolete applications should be upgraded or replaced. Opportunities for application consolidation and business process reengineering were identified and incorporated into the roadmaps. Although some progress was made on the roadmaps between 2009 and 2011, the banking crisis necessitated that most information technology software development efforts were used to meet urgent regulatory and process changes rather than to remediate aging applications. In 2012, the roadmaps were updated and remediation efforts began.
The management of technology obsolescence risk is a key focus area of the business technology strategic plan. Technology obsolescence is a recurring risk. Every year there are potentially new technologies to add to the at-risk list. The risk needs to be monitored and managed continuously. The roadmaps lay out a high level plan to address the application portfolio; the roadmaps feed into project prioritization and selection as part of the portfolio management governance process. The FDIC is proactively and continuously addressing technology obsolescence risk to ensure that business processes are not negatively affected. Detailed information on major application modernization efforts by program area is contained in Appendix B.
In developing this business technology strategic plan, FDIC used a systematic approach to identify strategic imperatives needed over the next five years to address gaps in business capabilities. This process consisted of identifying the critical business capabilities of the FDIC, identifying the key strategy-enabling technologies, and assessing the existing technology capabilities at the FDIC. Three strategic imperatives were identified and developed; each is described in turn.
Interviews with FDIC executives and key stakeholders highlighted the need to harness volumes of data and convert it into actionable insights in order to help drive faster and better decision-making, expedient analyses, predictable outcomes, and optimal operational efficiency. This need will be addressed by implementing advanced analytics through business intelligence capabilities.
Advanced analytics, an enterprise-wide capability, is evolving to provide timely, relevant and accurate information to enable real time decision making not only for executives, specialized users, and analysts but for all levels of employees within an organization.
The FDIC needs the ability to manage, collect and leverage large data sets, of both structured and unstructured data, for various mission-critical analyses and use across the enterprise. In addition, the ability to assess the quality of the data, define business rules, capture data lineage, manage the metadata, and use different techniques to understand massive data sets coming into the FDIC as part of core business programs is imperative. Continual growth of data within the organization is making it more difficult to analyze and understand data. Advanced analytics will help the FDIC to:
- Blend structured and unstructured data from external sources as well as internal FDIC systems;
- Establish a single version of the truth across FDIC authoritative sources (both internally/externally) to ensure data accuracy;
- Develop new techniques needed to enable timely analysis and interpretation of the data, including predictive analytics, modeling, simulation and what-if scenarios; and
- Produce highly interactive data visualization.
The methods by which each strategic imperative may be successfully implemented can be described in terms of the impact on the people, process, and technology involved. The advanced analytics strategic imperative involves people, process, and technology in the following manner.
- People: FDIC stakeholders will be provided with the ability to harness the vast stores of enterprise and financial data and turn it into advanced insights using sophisticated analytical techniques and tools.
- Process: As part of the strategic imperative, FDIC will establish impactful business processes that integrate advanced analytics for big data and provide the deeper, exploratory perspective on the data, while having standard business intelligence systems that provide a more structured user experience. FDIC will refine data standards, data profiling, and stewardship principles and increase standards and processes for enhanced master data management.
- Technology: FDIC will deliver core technologies and capabilities for business intelligence analytics and extend the technologies across the organization. The FDIC will mature the front-end disciplines of data visualization, geospatial / mapping, predictive analytics and mobile business intelligence and the back-end disciplines of in-memory analytics, big data, and data quality / data profiling.
The American public and an increasingly mobile workforce expect to be able to access high-quality information and applications anywhere, anytime, and on any device. As part of the development of this business technology strategic plan, the FDIC conducted a workforce technology assessment by asking all internal users of FDIC technology to participate in a voluntary on-line technology services survey. The responses were compiled and analyzed. A summary of the survey results is provided in Appendix C.
The results point toward the need for FDIC to expand its mobile technology capabilities for both the FDIC workforce and public. Industry and society trends also led to the development of the initiative to expand mobile technologies and support mobile devices. A 2012 report estimated that 46% of US adults use a smartphone; 87% of the phone users surf the Internet daily with the phone. President Obama has committed to making high-speed wireless services available to at least 98% of Americans. The availability of new wireless broadband services will allow more Americans to use the Internet to learn, work and play; their expectation for delivery of mobile applications and services will continue to grow.
The FDIC will develop a mobile first strategy which follows the mindset of creating information once to publish everywhere (internal applications, external web site, etc.). Content will be decoupled from the presentation, to allow greater flexibility in development approaches. Web API-driven services will be leveraged for interoperability and openness. The FDIC has already begun this work on the www.fdic.gov site; in November 2012 the FDIC launched a redesign of its popular online BankFind application to enhance the look and usability of the site, including improved ease of use from mobile devices.
The mobility strategic imperative involves people, process, and technology in the following manner:
- People: FDIC stakeholders, including the public, will be able to access FDIC information from anywhere at any time.
- Process: Development processes will be updated to reflect the mobile development strategy. The FDIC will institute policies to leverage Web API-driven services as part of the development processes.
- Technology: FDIC will update the public www.fdic.gov site in a phased approach to implement responsive design, allowing ease of use from mobile and traditional devices. The FDIC will expand its internal Wi-Fi network, improving reliability and supporting expected exponential growth in traffic. Other technologies required to support both a mobile workforce and public stakeholders will be explored and addressed.
The FDIC continues to rely on paper documents and the processing of paper documents for a majority of its business capabilities (see Appendix A for information on FDIC business capabilities). When developing this business technology strategic plan, the need to aggressively pursue an electronic document management strategic imperative became apparent. The FDIC is awash in paper documents and suffers from the inability to efficiently route, share, track, retrieve, and archive document-based content and information. In particular, the remote work force (largely the bank examiner community) does not have access to adequate document management services that would relieve the burden of processing and transporting paper documents. Because managing paper and unstructured content at the FDIC is largely manual, time consuming, and inefficient, the FDIC will embark on a strategic imperative to improve the efficiency and reliability for electronic document processing and workflow automation.
The underlying theme for the electronic document management strategic imperative is born digital, stays digital. The FDIC has some electronic document management capabilities in place today; the solutions in place are not highly scalable. The FDIC will implement a robust and scalable foundation for enterprise document management capabilities. The approach to this strategic imperative includes:
- Implementing an enterprise Document Management system;
- Transitioning legacy document management systems to the new enterprise system;
- Implementing a service center (more detail provided in later section) to provide guidance and support for automation and improvement of electronic document processing and workflow automation;
- Implementing a strategy for storage and retention of documents;
- Acquiring and deploying tools to fill gaps in document management services; and
- Automating paper based process.
This strategic imperative is related to the FDICs Information Management and Compliance (IMAC) program. The purpose of IMAC is to develop and establish a coordinated and interrelated set of policies, processes, and technologies that support the FDIC legal e-discovery obligations and the corporate records and information management functions. The records and information management functions are being modernized and enhanced so that the FDIC has a more uniform, defensible, efficient, and secure records management model, while maintaining flexibility and productivity for all employees.
The electronic document strategic imperative involves people, process, and technology in the following manner:
- People: FDIC employees will adapt to a new culture that is less paper intensive and commit to use of new processes and tools which underlie born digital, stays digital. They will store documents on appropriate platforms with the proper retention designation.
- Process: The FDIC will significantly reduce the number of paper based processes, implementing electronic document management practices with automated workflow when practical. Paper will be rarely used; when it is, it will be captured digitally in an automated fashion Retention policies will, for the most part, be automatically applied.
- Technology: FDIC will implement a robust and scalable enterprise document management system and automated workflow technologies. An enterprise scanning solution will be deployed to capture paper documents digitally. Document storage will be configured so that retention policies are automatically applied and content is indexed for enterprise discovery.
The events of the past five years have highlighted the need for the FDIC to improve its business agility. The FDIC needs to be able to respond quickly to changes in the financial industry and government regulations. The global financial crisis hit the FDIC full-force in 2008, when the FDIC closed twenty-five institutions after only closing a handful over the previous fifteen years. The FDIC has closed over 450 institutions in the past five years; this workload necessitated a ramping of staff, opening of temporary offices, and expansion of the information technology infrastructure.
In addition, the FDIC has been subject to many regulatory changes over the past five years as well, including the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) which raised deposit insurance limits and created the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The FDIC also launched the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP) in 2008. In 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) was passed. The law greatly expanded the FDICs regulatory responsibilities. The FDIC is still implementing processes and application changes to accommodate the rulemakings which resulted from the law (note that some rulemakings are still in process).
In the information technology arena, the FDIC has focused on three areas to improve business agility; each is described in turn.
The FDICs Division of Information Technology has implemented a service center concept to provide specific information technology services in a client focused manner with a business solution approach.
The first of these, the Business Intelligence Service Center, was established in 2011. The mission of the Business Intelligence Service Center is to provide expert technical advice and assistance to business users in the acquisition, management, and analysis of data acquired from internal and external sources. The Business Intelligence Service Center conducts analysis of data needs, sources, and content, and recommends strategies, techniques, and methods to acquire, structure, quality check, and stage data for reporting and analysis by business users. The center designs and implements data warehouses and datamarts, and the extract, transform, and load (ETL) processes to populate and maintain data warehouses and datamarts. The center promotes data reuse and standardization, metadata development and registration, and data sharing across the enterprise. The center has been integral to the work in managing and reporting on data related to the implementation of Dodd-Frank and other major business objectives of the FDIC.
The second service center will be established in 2013. The new Enterprise Document Management (EDM) Service Center will provide a single organization to execute FDICs Enterprise Document Management vision by delivering the needed EDM solutions, services, and capabilities to its clients. EDM solutions are a key portion of the technology solutions provided to DITs clients. Among the goals for the center:
- Provide a cohesive strategy and governance for all of FDICs content management technologies and solutions;
- Evolve the enterprise technologies, capabilities, and functionality to build large-scale automated content management solutions to support multiple business processes;
- Provide a specialized and highly skilled organization to guide clients in the fulfillment of their content management needs;
- Deliver and support EDM solutions to the FDIC; and
- Increase the level of content management expertise and adoption across the FDIC.
The demand for applications continues to grow as the FDIC business are seek to increase efficiency of operations, reduce risk, handle more volume, respond to changing regulatory requirements, and implement new technologies. Not all application development efforts are led from within the FDIC’s Division of Information Technology (DIT). Application development within the business are provides the FDIC with agility to address immediate business needs with minimal resource demands on DIT.
All information technology application development efforts at the FDIC must adhere to certain established practices and standards to ensure that the solutions meet the agencys business needs, are consistent with the relevant risk management policies, comply with the applicable federal government and FDIC regulations and statutes, and are maintainable. Specialized support service units have been set up within the FDIC to assist the development teams in addressing these requirements. This approach allows flexibility of having a decentralized application development approach while protecting FDIC data, retaining application integrity, and ensuring that project solutions continue to meet the mission and functions of the FDIC.
DIT must deliver systems and services in a timely, effective manner to support accomplishing the mission of safeguarding the U.S financial system. The success criteria for meeting this charge include:
- Systems and services delivered to customers provide the critically needed business and operational capabilities;
- Systems and services are delivered when needed by the organization; and
- Systems and services are delivered within the budget allocated.
Business process improvement efforts are focused on improving service delivery by removing impediments that prevent achieving the success criteria. Activities that are candidates for change are those that exhibit excessive cycle time or latency, include non-value-added steps, or are characterized by poor quality and rework. The improvement efforts result in reduced cycle time or latency, elimination of non-value-added steps, elimination of rework, and/or improved quality.
Business process improvement is a continuous activity. Information technology agility and responsiveness within the FDIC continues to increase as process improvements are implemented. In 2012, the time it takes to provision development environments was significantly reduced, having a positive impact on service delivery. Service delivery improvement efforts will continue along with other business process improvement efforts that will enhance organizational capacity planning and reduce resource contention.
 Based on a Pew Research study
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