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The Future of the Chief Information Officer in the Digital Financial Services Industry

Goal and Research Questions

Digitization, specifically digital products or services and new levels of automation, is increasingly becoming an important success factor for banks and insurance companies, i.e., the digital financial services industry. Traditionally, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) has been responsible for digitization, i.e., the use of information and communications technology (ICT). His position has been controversial in some companies for several years: On the one hand, more and more budget and responsibility for ICT is shifted to the business departments. On the other hand, there are new positions such as the Chief Digital Officer, who is responsible for digitization. In addition, the companies have created the function of a Chief Data Officer, who is responsible for maximizing the value of data. Based on this background, the CIO2028 research project aims to provide answers to the following research questions:
  1. What is the future role of the CIO in the Financial Services Industry (in competition with IT competence of the Chief Digital Officer and the Chief Data Officer or in the business)?
  2. What went well and what should be improved regarding managing digital transformation?
  3. What are the key competences of the CIO in corporate IT in the future?
  4. How will IT be managed and steered in an increasingly digitized Financial Services Industry?
  5. What is the most effective setup for digital transformation?
  6. What does the target operating model for the IT of the future look like?
The CIO2028 research project focuses on CIOs from Germany and Switzerland.

Composition of the research team

The research project team consists of a core team including Walter Brenner, Sudip Lahiri, Maria Crameri, Barbara Brenner, and Nikhil Manda (?). In addition to the core team, 10 to 15 CIOs and CDOs from banks and insurance companies are invited to participate in this research project. They contribute their knowledge, experience, and their view of the future to ensure that the results can be implemented and have an impact on practice. CIOs who wish to participate in the research project are asked to contribute as follows:
  • 2 conversations or interviews of 1 - 1.5 hours each (Challenges/Practices/Models), of which one interview of approximately 2 hours will be included in the book
  • Participation in the three workshops physically or virtually
  • Interview of approximately 2 hours as contribution to the book (dialogue)

Research method, documentation, and publication of results

The CIO2028 research project is conducted as applied research. The research process consists of several rounds of interviews with CIOs from companies in the banking and insurance industry and roundtables (workshops) in which the results of the interviews are discussed and consolidated. This may be accompanied by a survey of CIOs from the banking and insurance industry to broaden the knowledge and experience base for the project. The results of the project are documented or published
  • as presentations in the form of slide decks for the preparation of the roundtables
  • as a book authored by Brenner, Lahiri, and Crameri
  • as (short) articles for the dissemination of the contents of the research project
  • as posts and videos in social media

Structuring of the research project and major milestones

The research project will be structured along the three thematic blocks: Challenges, Good / Best Practices, Vision, and Future of the CIO. A roundtable / workshop will be dedicated to each of the three thematic blocks to discuss and consolidate the ideas of the participating CIOs:
  • Roundtable 1: Challenges of the CIO and Corporate IT / Banking of the Future
  • Roundtable 2: Good / Best Practices Managing IT in Digital Financial Services Industry
  • Roundtable 3: Model(s) of the CIO of the Future (Vision/Options)
In preparation for the roundtable / workshop, preparatory interviews will be conducted with all participating CIOs, which will be processed for analysis by the research team.

Benefits for the CIOs involved

By participating in the CIO2028 research project, the involved CIOs gain insight into how CIOs from other banks and insurance companies operate, which challenges they face, and how experts from the University of St.Gallen, HCLTech, and Mario Crameri see the future. The CIOs can openly exchange views with colleagues. In addition, publishing the interviews in a book distributed worldwide is a good opportunity to promote their IT and the respective company. At the end, each participant will receive a letter signed by Walter Brenner, Mario Crameri and Sudip Lahiri confirming their participation in the research project.

Rough schedule

  1. First round of interviews: January/ February 2023
  2. Roundtable (Workshop 1): March 2023
  3. Second round of interviews: June/ July 2023
  4. Roundtable (Workshop 2): August 2023 (after summer vacations)
  5. Third round of interviews: November/December 2023
  6. Roundtable (Workshop 3): January 2024
  7. Writing of book: January to April 2024
  8. Publication of book: 3rd/ 4th quarter 2024 (depending on publisher)

Costs for CIOs to participate in the research project

There are no costs for the CIOs participating in the CIO2028 project, except for expenses by attending the roundtables / workshops. The project is funded by courtesy of HCLTech.

Academic independence

The research team states that HCLTech will not influence the research methodology and the content of the results. The cooperation with HCLTech is listed on the corresponding website of the University of St.Gallen. All essential results of the research project will be publicly available in the published book.


Walter Brenner


Barbara Brenner

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