CIO Straight Talk - Issue 9 - 52
An overhaul of run-the-business processes can free up resources to
invest in transform-the-business technologies.
Chief Information Officer
International Monetary Fund
Susan Swart joined the International Monetary Fund
in 2012 as C
hief Information Officer. In November
2015, she was named to head the newly created
Information Technology Department at the IMF.
As CIO, she is responsible for the provision of
information t echnology services and leadership in
the application of technology t o the mission of the
IMF. Prior to joining the IMF, Ms. Swart served a
CIO of the U.S. Department of State, where she was
a senior m
ember of the Foreign Service, from 2008-
2012. As CIO there, she led the delivery of IT services
to 280 Embassies, Consulates, and offices in 185
countries. She also served as Senior Advisor to the
Secretary of State and the Undersecretary of State
for Management o
n IT. She has 26 years of experience
in the information management a
field encompassing responsibility for knowledge
management, IT customer service, IT infrastructure,
corporate s ystems support, and applied information
B.S. (Information Systems), Viriginia Commonwealth
raduate degree (National Security
Strategy), National War College
During my four years as CIO at the International
Monetary Fund, we have tackled three issues
that will be familiar to many CIOs, whether
of a multinational corporation or an intergovernmental organization like the IMF.
First, we needed to rethink the way IT delivers
services to the organization. While we generally
have had positive feedback from users on the basic
services IT provided to them, the money and time
required to simply keep systems up and running
was limiting our ability to invest for the future.
Freeing up resources previously devoted to
running IT would give us the opportunity
to experiment with and adopt emerging
technologies that would truly transform the way
the IMF does business.
Finally, we've been working on something
that may not feel quite so familiar to CIOs of
global enterprises but that I think is of crucial
importance. We support a business that operates
in hundreds of countries around the world.
So we have begun to focus on building an IT
organization that reflects that global diversity
and can bring new ways of thinking to our
Stability to Growth
For the past four years, my team and I have
worked t o modernize the IT department's
processes and technologies for delivering services.
The aim has been to shift resources from run-
the-business activities to new technologies
and technology-enabled processes that the
business needs as it moves forward. We started
by evaluating exactly what we were doing and
how we were doing it, then came up with a series
of initiatives called "Transform IT" to enable the
more efficient delivery of IT services.
We have begun moving to a managed services
model for our infrastructure. We also reexamined
the way we contract for our IT services from
third-party providers. We started approaching
our outsource projects with statements of work,
focusing on the outcomes we want to deliver
to the business rather the number of people
required to do the work.
And we have an initiative to move more services
to the cloud, having developed a framework
for deciding which systems are good
candidates for cloud-based delivery, based on
an assessment of the business, technology, and
security risk involved with each one.
An Appetite for
There's a lot of interest in new and innovative
technology in the broader organization of the IMF.
Because of the nature of the work we do, which
is heavily data and analytics-based, our business
users are tech-savvy. They are very aware of the
innovation going on in the FinTech space and
what that technology might enable us to do for
our member states. And, like everyone else, they
use more and more technology in their personal
lives, and that elevates their expectations for