October 23, 2019
CRIF: more value to clients through the GT Journey
Interviewed by Data Manager Magazine, Davide Raitano, CRIF Corporate Chief Information Officer, presents the multi-year plan of the Global Technologies division to meet the challenges of digital transformation, focusing on four key areas: people, agility, technology and branding.
Success is a journey, not a destination: this is the slogan chosen by the CRIF Global Technologies division to describe its GT Journey, an extensive multi-year plan involving activities in the areas of organization and culture, processes and technology, with the aim of creating and transferring value to clients. Entirely dedicated to IT, Global Technologies has over 1,200 employees around the world, and a structure organized into headquarters, decentralized offices (in order to better support the reference markets and guarantee the most current security standards), as well as hubs, currently located in India, Slovakia and Poland. The aim is to create value on a global scale thanks to an approach based on scalability, flexibility and competitive pricing.
CRIF, established in 1988 in Bologna, is a recognized specialist on a global level in credit reporting systems, business information systems, outsourcing and processing solutions, as well as credit management solutions. Today, it operates in more than 50 countries across 4 continents, serving over 6,300 credit institutions, insurance companies and utilities, 55,000 businesses and hundreds of thousands of consumers.
TAKING A STEP FORWARD
“Today, digital transformation is a crucial topic for companies, presenting us with two challenging objectives”, explained Davide Raitano, CRIF Corporate Chief Information Officer. “The first relates to finalization of the in-house transformation, and the second is the ability to support clients that are undertaking, or have already undertaken, a path of transformation”. The GT Journey enables technical and specialist skills to be strengthened and disseminated on a large scale as an essential part of the CRIF value proposal: “To give clients a solid, reliable IT system, with advanced application, infrastructure and security expertise”.
“The GT Journey is already bringing many benefits, but it will only be truly successful”, continued Raitano, “if it can convey the need for continuous transformation to the entire organization”.
According to Raitano, the period when simply being excellent implementors and managers was sufficient is over.
“We must take a step forward and become value generators, including on a business level”, stated the CRIF Corporate Chief Information Officer. “In this context, the GT Journey will develop our approach to enable our specialists to increasingly become all-round subject matter experts, combining practical skills with the technical knowledge required to create increasingly innovative and complete solutions to satisfy, and where possible anticipate, the needs of different industries”.
The program is made up of four areas: People & Culture, Agility, Technology, and GT Branding.
“The objective of People & Culture”, explained Raitano, “is to provide the soft skills necessary to properly communicate the real value inherent to technological proposals and influence business choices with the aim of reaping all the benefits that IT can bring to clients and to CRIF’s growth. In order to bring ourselves even closer to changing market realities, we are also planning to review the organizational roles”. The Agility area, on the other hand, “is focused on components to speed up operations and software management and implementation processes, including DevSecOps components, the cloud, interdisciplinary teams and value-driven business metrics, which enable the contribution of IT to the value creation of solutions to be measured and monitored”.
The subject of Technology aims to define the digital components of the Enterprise Architecture, “and how these integrate with the traditional components that support CRIF’s core services, as well as consolidate the platforms in use in order to rationalize investments in the maintenance of a modern, coherent and efficient technology stack”.
Finally, the GT Branding area, “is aimed at optimizing our skills and our ability to bring value to all the markets we operate in. There are a number of initiatives within the program, including the organization of a hackathon, the first of which will be conducted in collaboration with the University of Bologna”.
According to Raitano, both CRIF and its clients will be part of an interconnected ecosystem destined to change the rules of the game, based on cooperation and collaboration between partners: “This will have significant consequences such as the need to be fast and agile in terms of implementation, combined with the strategic and widespread adoption of open and simple standards in order to connect partners to one another”.
Another priority is Open Innovation: “The speed at which technological and business innovation is becoming part of everyday life requires an enormous capacity to adapt and transform, much more so than in the past”.
Another subject with a significant impact is the growing pervasiveness of data, and compliance with personal information security and protection: “CRIF’s core business”, explained Raitano, “has always been to transform information into knowledge and value, but the challenge facing us is to scale this capability - which is recognized globally, combining the exponential growth of data (the IoT is a perfect example) with the new opportunities that machine learning and artificial information technology present”.
OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES
How exactly is CRIF Global Technologies gearing up to overcome the impending challenges? “First of all”, explained Raitano, “a significant investment has been made in creating INSP, the CRIF Intelligent Network Services Platform, which will serve our clients, organized into ecosystems, as a multiplier of innovation and opportunities to meet the needs of our customers’ customers through the continuous enrichment with value-added services of both CRIF and the customers themselves, with the guarantee of full compliance with GDPR, PSD2, KYC, AML etc.”.
“The main innovation”, continued Raitano, “relates to the technology employed to implement latest generation APIs, for the simpler integration between services, including heterogeneous ones, and users. Specifically, we decided to tackle this type of project by rethinking the organization and development processes, focusing on agility and a multidisciplinary approach to ensure flexibility and speed in value creation. Our GT Journey program has also played an important role in this area, allowing every barrier between the teams involved, including cultural to be broken down”.
Regarding Open Innovation, CRIF is continuing on a path started several years ago with a study of technological trends, enabling the Global Technologies division to create cooperation with business for the testing and prototyping of actual use cases.
“Finally”, concluded Raitano, “one of the results of the continuous innovation process relates to the possibility of managing large volumes of data, adding solutions based on non-relational databases to more traditional technologies, to have easily scalable systems as the volumes managed increase and, above all, to manage specific business requirements, such as the management of relationship graphs or the search and matching of unstructured data. The true value comes from the application of new technologies, which we are investing significantly in, to facilitate integration in an ecosystem able to guarantee maximum security, operability and full regulatory compliance.
Source: Data Manager Magazine