Phil Norris, CIO at Business Backer

Phil Norris, CIO at Business Backer


“Business Backer provides alternative funding to small businesses who are too new or don’t fit a bank’s actuaries. We’re unique in that we are up front about purchase price and we have no legalese in our easy-read contracts. In fact, we have received numerous awards for our highly ethical lending practices from entities like the City of Cincinnati and the State of Ohio, among others. If we can’t fund a business, we take the time to find them funding. We use technology for our underwriting and data sourcing, so that we can be very clear in our answer to a client and they can trust our quotes and our speed to market. The more data we put behind a decision, the cleaner the business is going to be, and that’s one of our core philosophies. FinTech is a huge and growing space and speed is everything in our business. We’ve taken what is typically a 2-day response time and shortened it to about 60-90 seconds, all thanks to the tech products we’ve built here, including separate analytics and data teams and integrating our systems front to back.”

What are the top 2 challenges facing IT organizations this year? What are the top 2 opportunities?

“We have so many really smart folks who know how to and want to build great things, that it’s hard to make sure that we can keep them engaged and happy. It’s a big part of my job to make sure they know that they’re valued and appreciated. Also, because there are tons of emerging cloud technologies on the market, we have to keep abreast of them and separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Opportunities – it’s hard to list just two! The data space is growing, there’s a lot of money in new technologies that are making development easier. A lot of times we say ‘data and analytics’ in one phrase, but there’s a plethora of different roles, responsibilities and functions that make it a beautiful working mechanism. The Architect’s role is to build the data warehouse of fact and dimension models, then someone populates it with data, the transforming and loading or ETL, and then yet another entity, the reporting framework, pulls the data from it. So there are a ton of distinct opportunities and Cincinnati businesses are really hungry for big data because they know, just as we’ve been able to do here at Business Backer, you can really make it move the needle!”

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