Designing an IT organization from scratch

A few months ago, the Monetary Authority of Singapore awarded the first set of digital banking licenses. As the press release mentions, there were 14 applicants out of which 4 were granted licenses.

As it happens, I had interviewed with one of those applicants. While I did clear the interviews, it didn’t result in a job offer since they didn’t get the license. To be honest, this was a bit surprising since they are a well known brand and were thought to be a strong contender. Nevertheless, there’s not much point in hiring people without a banking license!

The role that I interviewed for was called the Head of Production Services, reporting into the CTO:

Responsible for overall technology and operational support (front to back) of the bank’s digital platforms residing on multi-cloud environment, which includes operating the total cost ownership of the bank’s technology platforms efficiently, managing the life-cycle of the platforms systems, complying to regulations, enabling risk & controls, to deliver a high standards bar in users’ customer experience.

In effect, this role would’ve been responsible for delivering the entire IT platform capabilities that the bank’s business, operations and software engineering teams would rely upon. While a bit out of my wheelhouse, the scope and impact of the role was meaningful and challenging enough for me to go for it.

During the interview process, I was asked to prepare and present how I would structure this Production Services organization. This was a very interesting thought exercise that I enjoyed digging into immensely. I drew on my own experience, received insight & feedback from a few trusted friends, and read numerous resources. One of the resources that I found quite helpful was Truth from the Valley: A Practical Primer on IT Management for the Next Decade, a book by Mark Settle. I highly recommend it to anyone in an IT leadership role.

Here’s the final deck outlining my design of the IT services organization at a hypothetical Blue Bank. I hope you find it interesting!