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'Breakfast with a CIO' event brings banking executive to tech community

Breakfast with a CIO View a photo gallery from the event.

JPMorgan Chase moves more money every day than the GDP of the United Kingdom, about $5 trillion daily -- but it's not the dollar bills we typically carry in our wallets.

"What do banks actually produce?" asked Mark Ashton-Rigby, head of banking technology for JPMorgan Chase. "They don't manufacture anything. They move so-called money, but it's really just data."

Ashton-Rigby, who has worked in the banking industry for almost two decades in senior technology roles, spoke to an audience from the Tampa tech community on April 22 as the keynote speaker for the USF College of Business's second "Breakfast with a CIO" event, sponsored by Tech Data. In an engaging thirty minute address, he discussed various aspects of his job that range from managing people and technology, to dealing with the security of the company's data.

Balaji Padmanabhan, chair of USF's Information Systems & Decision Sciences department, said in his welcome remarks that the "decision" element is as important as the "information systems" element of what his department does.

"Information does not exist in a vacuum," Padmanabhan noted in the context of discussing how necessary it is today for businesses to have information systems that enable data-driven analytics for decision making.

The tech leaders of today embrace the dual challenges of providing ever more information on demand while maintaining high security. Every day, Ashton-Rigby said he thinks about how the bank can leverage the investments in technology, with customers wanting more and more information but having diminishing tolerance of leaks, a thought echoed by Phil Fillipelli, vice president of eBusiness at Tech Data, in his opening remarks as the sponsor of the event.

Recognizing that today's world offers unprecedented choices for customers who have to be earned, and then retained, by quality and service, Filippelli noted, "Our customers don't have to shop with us. You have to be able to do things in a way that is scalable and quick, while also being a good steward of their information."

Ashton-Rigby also talked about the unique challenges of the banking industry, saying that moving up the ladder often requires very different skills and talents at different levels.

"At one level, you're expected to be the person with ideas .... at the next level, you're supposed to be the person who takes a very hard, cynical look at the ideas," he said.

The talk was peppered with numerous insights for leaders on how to manage and successfully lead in a highly complex world. He emphasized, for instance, the need for human resource development in an industry that is very dependent on its highly talented staff.

"The other critical part of the banking industry, that I think we overlook, is the people," he said. "If your team beneath you believes that you're trying to help develop their careers, they'll go home and think about how they can do better."