Published on July 9, 2019 by Solvaria
When an internally managed mortgage real estate investment trust, which invests in residential and commercial mortgage securities on a leveraged basis, lost its long-time CTO, like many companies, they tried to fill the gap in leadership with another C-level executive. In this case, they selected the organization’s CFO who was already serving as the COO as well. With one person filling the role of three C-level positions, the majority of the time given to IT was being spent reactively managing issues and putting out fires. This diverted focus away from the core operation and caused IT projects to stall without a leader in place to see them to completion.
On top of stalled projects, many of the systems were functional but created with outdated technologies, and most of the company’s infrastructure needed to be modernized as well. Despite the desire from leadership to move the organization forward, they realized that without a CTO in place to instigate progress, its IT environment would remain functional at best.
Upon engaging with this real estate investment trust, Solvaria set out to uncover the issues facing the organization by conducting face-to-face interviews with each of the major departments in order to gain an understanding of the current state of IT. Our questions were geared to expose the organization’s strengths and weaknesses in three major categories: People, Process and Technology. Once we established a clear picture of the current state of their environment, we approached the executive leadership to discuss the desired future state. During this discussion, we learned that they had many projects that were in the early phases of development that either needed to be started or continued to completion to aid in modernizing the organization.
Having gained an understanding of the current and desired future state, we created a roadmap to guide the organization from its current state to its desired future state that included everything from high-level strategy down to the tactical approach we would take to complete specific projects. In addition, with the catalyst of all of these issues lying in a lack of leadership, we inserted one of our own consultants to serve as the fractional CTO of the organization.
Today, our fractional CTO has been in place with the real estate company since March, 2016. Within the first 90 days of our engagement, clear communication on all current projects had become the new normal, and stakeholder engagement in ensuring the completion of IT projects is currently at an all-time high.
Having a fractional CTO in place to take accountability for IT and drive all of its projects to completion has brought both a new vision for the organization’s IT strategy as well as a new definition of stakeholder accountability to support the vision. Using the roadmap created from the interviews as a guide, our fractional CTO has not only brought process discipline, project management oversight and significant infrastructure transformation to the organization, but also spurred long-stalled projects to move forward and increased user engagement, ensuring that technology projects are being guided with business insight.