Western & Southern Financial Group, SVP & CIO: Consolidation of Vendor Landscapes Is Integral To Organization’s Growth

Western & Southern Financial Group, SVP & CIO: Consolidation of Vendor Landscapes Is Integral To Organization’s Growth

(US and Canada) James Fitzgerald, SVP and Chief Information Officer at Western & Southern Financial Group, speaks with Jordan Shelton, Account Executive at GuidePoint Security, about building the organization’s value proposition in the market, the outcome of technology acquisition and integration, evaluating the tools of integration, and consolidating vendor landscape.

To introduce the value proposition of Western & Southern in the market, Fitzgerald states that they actively involve various universities in the Greater Cincinnati area, including the University of Cincinnati. He announces their partnership with Northern Kentucky University, under which a contact center was opened on campus. He maintains that this will lead to better career opportunities for students intending to live and work in Cincinnati.

Highlighting the effects of acquisition and integration, Fitzgerald discusses Gerber Life. Describing the acquisition as “tremendous work,” he notes that figuring out what Gerber delivered as a brand and its overall portfolio has been beneficial. With its technology stack built on AWS, Geber is “insurance in a box,” he adds.

He further focuses on understanding the acquired company in its entirety, and maintains that it is pivotal to know what can be leveraged from it. He maintains that it is all about smart integration and effective communication between organizations. The key is to find the balance between being secure and doing right, Fitzgerald says.

Regarding vendor consolidation, he recalls one of his teammates mentioning how vendors are trained to sell but organizations are not trained to buy. Hence, he stresses the importance of having a good vendor management program. Fitzgerald urges organizations to be careful of what they are buying and to understand usage and value proposition. He mentions the Salesforce platform, stating that Marc Benioff is a success because he is a great salesman with a great platform.

The vendor landscape plays a prime role here. He affirms that organizations will benefit immensely if the vendors are narrowed down based on their present and future value. The security landscape, however, is evolving and awaits consolidation in the future.

In conclusion, Fitzgerald states that it boils down to picking the right partner and the right solution. He urges organizations to include the build perspective in a buy scenario while decision-making, and to leverage industry expertise where things cannot be built from scratch.

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