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Susan Certoma Takes Wachovia to the Next Level

DMA and algorithmic trading open door to high-performance computing, Providing a single infrastructure with multiple services key to SOA strategy, Amnet acquisition demands consolidation of wholesale vertical in the mortgage business

Wachovia Corporate Investment
Susan Certoma
Chief Information Officer

Susan Certoma Wachovia

Various positions at Bankers Trust, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and CSFB.

M.B.A. in finance and B.S. in management/economics, St. John's University.

Wachovia Corporate Investment
Bank 301 South College St., Suite 4000 One Wachovia Center
Charlotte, NC 28288

Market capitalization of approximately $110 billion.

At one of the major investment banks where I was working I had taken over my first very large, global initiative involving a several-hundred- million-dollar budget. The project involved building and structuring a team to achieve some aggressive deliverables within the organization and required a lot of creativity. It taught me how to navigate an organization, address my audience at different levels, and work with people to change the way they think about business and technology.

"Blink," by Malcolm Gladwell.

What's Next?
The global digital nervous system, or autonomic computing. For example, at Wachovia, we have a great deal of data in our bank and a wide range of businesses. But how do we enable all of this data to become information? How do we manage this information and provide it to our clients -- internal or external -- in a very value-added, but subconscious and intuitive way?


IT Budget:

Well over several hundred million dollars in strategic investments.

Key Technology Management:

  • George Vega, Capital Markets Business Technology
  • Mark Kates, Infrastructure Team
  • Tony Bishop, Infrastructure Team
  • Syd Vyas, Infrastructure Team
  • Paul Meisner, Wholesale Operations Team
  • Size of Technology Team:

    More than 1,600.

    Percent of IT Projects Outsourced:

    Currently 25 to 30 percent.

    Key Technology Partners:

    IBM, Microsoft, Accenture, DataSynapse, Tibco.

    Success Metrics:

    We use business partner surveys to get feedback directly from our business areas. The surveys utilize a rating scale and solicit very targeted comments so we can take action. There is a formal process for how we track and report our delivery budget and delivery dates, as well as a post-review process to make sure we're tracking to that and self-correcting as we go along. We also measure ourselves against our original business case goals. Last but not least, we do measurements around the stability, availability and the performance of our environment -- all of which are key to the business.


    Our overall IT road map has three stages -- stabilize, optimize and differentiate, and 2008 is the year where we say we're in differentiation mode. We've started some of that this year, but we are really focused on innovation in 2008, and some of the initiatives include our global growth initiative powered by our dynamic utility infrastructure. Wachovia Bank has traditionally been more of a domestic organization, but if you've watched the history of that over the last several years, that is changing dramatically.


    DMA and Algorithmic Trading

    This initiative involves how we look at our algorithms in the market, how we look at our risk and quant models, how we access pools of liquidity, and how we provide high-performance computing to our clients.

    Multi-Asset Research Sales and Trading Platform

    We've been very focused on how we provide cross-asset platforms to all of our businesses across the corporate investment bank. As part of our SOA strategy, our goal is to provide a single infrastructure that will provide multiple services that can be very differentiated based on each of our businesses. That infrastructure lies on top of a lot of the infrastructure that we're building, such as our grid utility, virtualization pieces, etc.

    Virtual Mortgage Integration

    We recently acquired Amnet on the West Coast, and our focus has been a consolidation of the wholesale vertical in the mortgage business to support that business from origination with tools -- such as a broker portal, CRM and broker management tool, pricing and product distribution -- then leveraging and securitizing the capital markets infrastructure.

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