How Storme McDonald is enabling change for RMB by using the power of ICT to support her team.
By Jane Steinacker
From running the finance division to now heading up technology and operations for enabling areas, Storme McDonald, RMB’s enabling areas chief technology and operations officer (CTOO) knows no bounds. In just over a year, after moving from being RMB’s CFO for its Corporate Banking division, she has focused on garnering and harnessing the power of technology and how it can better serve the business through enabling areas.
Technology is not her new passion. In her tenure as the financial institution’s CFO, Storme implemented robotics technology, not to replace her team, but rather to support them. “Partnering technology and chartered accountants’ skills is an exceptionally powerful combination,” she says, explaining that it helped her to move her team from being in an executional role to an intellectual one that is of greater benefit to the business.
Introducing robotics into the finance division sparked an insatiable interest in the power of technology, and while Storme had never envisioned this as a potential career move, when the position for CTOO enablement at RMB came up, “it appealed to me and I put my hand up.” she says. “It gives me the opportunity to fundamentally shift the enabling functions for business.”
The combination of technology and operations is an unusual one, but according to Storme, it can be powerful as long as the technology supports the operating model.
In her tenure as CTOO, which has been for just over a year, Storme has started to introduce the concept of platform thinking into new strategic projects. She has started the replacement, enhancement and cancellation of legacy systems. There has been a big focus from her – with various teams – on training to enhance their skills set, and she has started implementing systems that allow the business to use its data more effectively.
For a CIO – or in this case, a CTOO – to implement these changes, the business’s support is needed. Storme says RMB has always understood and supported the use of technology, and her role is to find the best solutions for the enabling areas to support business. “From a holistic RMB perspective, the business has always had clients on a platform and this has been a focus,” she says. “This didn’t arrive because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was always there. Although, Covid-19 may have shifted direction on some items.”
Her team’s support is also essential. Storme has spent the last few months taking great care to ensure that training opportunities are made available to her team. She says she initially had mixed reactions to the changes she wanted to make. For some members, moving away from the way things had always been done caused some discomfort, but once they realised that the expectation was not to make drastic changes all at once, but rather take them on the journey with her, they adapted really well.
“You need to work at the pace of your team. At the end of the day, they are the ones who drive the change,” says Storme.
Her ability to be an agile thinker, which comes with focus and patience, is freeing up time for her team to focus on analysing enabling data, delivering services and increasing the value of the human capital in the organisation. Storme says her teams are able to collaborate and co-ordinate their activities better, and to focus on tasks that actively contribute to the business’s success, and that this will improve as more technology is used.
An added benefit, she says, is that technology also brings in efficiencies that allow her and her team members to be able to use their time more wisely.