In a rapidly changing world, the Glacier CIO prepares for business success by leveraging technology.
Gudani Mukatuni is the CIO at Glacier (by Sanlam), a subsidiary of Sanlam and the largest investment administration platform in South Africa. Glacier is a digital gateway to a world of limitless offshore and local investing opportunities, offering intermediaries and their clients access to the best of more than 2,000 local and offshore funds, from different fund managers – all in one place.
Gudani has a passion for leading and developing teams as well as transforming organisations through the use of technology. In a world where technology has become one of the key enablers to deliver the business strategy, Gudani’s overall professional and leadership experience helps her to enable organisations to operate efficiently and grow revenue.
She has gained extensive experience in implementing digitally enabled business distribution channels, as well as consolidating and rationalising multiple systems to cloud-based platforms.
Prior to joining Glacier, Gudani worked for FirstRand as CIO for the WesBank Motor Division, and for Nedbank as head of IT in the wealth management division. However, her career began at Ernst & Young (EY), where she fast-tracked her professional experience in solving technology problems and defining IT strategies for various local and international companies.
Gudani initially considered studying civil engineering after completing matric, but was convinced to pursue studies in computer science by one of her role models. She saw this as an opportunity to work in a field that’s in demand, and that would potentially provide her with limitless career possibilities.
Gudani says that she gained immense experience implementing IT systems and solutions when she joined Nedbank. “I understand investments and wealth management solutions, and these are the core areas where I’ve enabled organisations from a technology perspective.”
More automation, less AI
Gudani says in the organisations she has worked at, a lot of investment was made in AI tools and from an infrastructure perspective. Gudani points out that one needs to be very clear about the use cases for AI, to avoid conversations about unrealised and uncomfortable return on investment.
“Demonstrating return on investment in certain use cases is sometimes very difficult. However, in instances where client experience is at the centre, the conversation is slightly easier and can be backed by quantitative metrics and statistics on how AI has benefitted the organisation. Although we have recently started the journey, we are satisfied about where we are going and can only improve over time.”
The evolving role of the CIO
According to Gudani, the past four years have really demonstrated how the role of the CIO is key to the 4IR.
“The CIO role is evolving to the extent that in the boardroom, the role has become a key business strategist in maximising the return on the company’s investment in technology. The role is no longer required only to look at cost savings. The focus has shifted to strategic initiatives that drive business value and revenue,” she adds.
She says it’s both a good and bad thing that people are tech savvy, albeit only to a certain level. What keeps the CIO role relevant, she says, “is that you need the detailed technical centre of excellence that will ensure that the organisation doesn’t make costly architectural decisions in the underlying technology and infrastructure. While decision-makers who are specialists in other disciplines can attend courses and read the articles, there will always be a need for technology expertise in the room.”
If Gudani is not working or spending time with her family; she finds peace and joy in running, reading and travelling. She is an advisory board member of Women in Technology, where she uses the platform to engage in various initiatives geared to uplift and empower young people in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.