4 Jul 2022


SunTrust Bank: Strategic Information System Planning

Format: APA

Academic level: Master’s

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 2816

Pages: 10

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I. Strategic Business Planning 

SunTrust Bank is the largest subsidiary to the American bank holding company SunTrust Banks, Inc. The organization is involved in the provision of the highest quality financial services in the industry. In this case, the organization provides its services not only to the customers but also to corporations, businesses and non-profit institutions (Press, 2014). This practice has been segmented into three different business units including consumer banking and private wealth management, mortgage banking and wholesale banking. These sectors also involve the firm’s practices in its corporate other activities. Through the various operations of the company, it is effectively controlled by the numerous policies by the federal government (Press, 2013). They include the Banking Holding Company Act that directs the practices of similar companies. The Federal Reserve Board also controls other activities that are in close relation to the banking sector. The organization sought to broaden its financial businesses through practicing as a financial holding company as per the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act. However, in order to maintain such a standard, the organization is required to ensure a high rating pursuant to the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. Failure to adhere to these rules will cause limitations in the financial services the company offers. 

The financial institution operates more than 1,400 branches using its flagship subsidiary. It operates in nearly half a dozen Southeastern states. As a result, the company experiences significant competition over its close rivals. Some of the companies include BB&T Corporation that recently achieved annual revenue of $2.426 billion in the fiscal year 2016 and a market capitalization of $35.631 billion (Rogers, 2015). This demonstrates the company’s significant superiority in terms of income and market share to that of SunTrust. However, the company has surpassed some of its competitors including M&T Bank Corp and KeyCorp that have a market capitalization of $23.631 billion and $18.870 billion respectively. This is significantly lower than that of SunTrust Bank that achieves $27.199 billion (Rogers, 2015). These financial institutions also earn lower net income than the company in focus with M%T Bank Corp at $1.315 billion and Key Corp at $791 million against the more superior SunTrust at $1.878 billion. These financial figures are a clear demonstration of the enterprise’s ability to outperform its close rivals (Rogers, 2015). Through its strategic business planning the organization will be able to significantly improve in its performance over the next few years to grow its market capitalization while increasing the newt income earned. 

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SunTrust Bank has the ability to compete against its closest competitors as noted in the recent ranking of the InformationWeek Elite 100. The financial institution recently implemented a new mortgage origination platform that helps in the lending process. The new technology is an important factor towards improving the lending system whereby much of the corporation’s business lies (Rogers, 2015). The new system identifies an effective method of providing mortgage loans to the numerous residents in the regions where its branches are located. The ranking demonstrates that the company is among only a few businesses that have been at the forefront of incorporating technological innovation in its daily operations. Another factor that increases the competitive advantage of the company is the involvement of promotional agreements. The bank announced its recent multi-year agreement with Major League Soccer club Atlanta United. SunTrust will serve as the official banking partner for the club while numerous factors are incorporated in the contract including branding, signage, advertisements and promotions (Rogers, 2015). This agreement also includes a shirt sponsorship deal whereby the banks name will be evidently printed on the jerseys worn by the club’s players. This contractual agreement is a practice that increases the institution’s marketability as it promises to help all those associated with Atlanta United with unique opportunities of realizing financial well-being. 

II. Information Systems Assessment 

In the modern business practice, technology has become a very important part of increasing business value. It is for this reason that the organization is focused towards improving its workforce in information and technology issues. For instance, the bank has included information security and compliance job position. This employee is responsible for ensuring various information security operations (Rogers, 2015). In the 21 st Century, cyber crime continues to become one of the most crucial issues affecting businesses. Financial institutions are significantly at risk of high levels of malpractice and experiencing losses. However, the availability of in-house information security personnel, the company can alleviate any such incidences (Rogers, 2015). The employee engages in risk analysis, creating awareness and training among staff workers on various security compliance standards, and finally actively ensures the maintenance of the company’s security system. In light of this, such an individual will be responsible for reporting cases of security breach or attempts on that note while co-operating with internal support staff from various departments. An information security-application assessment analyst is another technical position in the institution. The role requires an individual to maintain contacts with both business and technical support as a measure of ensuring company systems comply with standards (Rogers, 2015). These include mobile applications security among others. 

The institution has been at the center of ensuring development of security plans and increase in technological innovations. Similar to other financial institutions, the company grapples with whether to develop their own mobile application of purchase them for the available providers. The firm then has to establish a consensus on features that will appear on the application. However, research shows that nearly 52% of the products available in the market have not been optimized to achieve their potential in compatibility with the devices. Due to the limitations of mobile connectivity, another 49% cannot function without the availability of Wi-Fi or cellular data. Generational divide is a major issue affecting the development of technology in industry (Rogers, 2015). Though the workforce in the US had a higher percentage of a younger generation in earlier years’ research shows that this would soon change in the near future. The generational divide will heavily affect the development of information technology systems significantly slowing innovation in this field. SunTrust, however, is dedicated towards increased focus on ensuring such an occurrence in the labor market does not affect them (Rogers, 2015). The creation of five year plans is implemented to continue even when the workforce continues to age. This practice limits the negative changes that may affect firms that incorporate short-term plans. 

Within the company’s management team is Chief Information Officer (CIO) Anil Cheriyan who takes up the responsibility of Enterprise Information Services. This organizational department ensures that the technology available in the company is within or surpasses industry standards. He joined the organization after holding numerous positions of seniority in IBM Global Business Services (Rogers, 2015). He has been the primary influence for the company’s push toward increasing its technological use in daily operation. He points out that despite having more than 1,400 branches in the US very few people will visit them physically (Rogers, 2015). As a result, the company developed a digital experience for its consumers such that clients can get access to their information whenever and wherever they want it. The banking industry has been present for so many years where the primary method of increasing revenue for the firm is through face to face interaction. However, the changing world and nature of conducting business has been a primary factor for companies like SunTrust to adopt such changes. These ideas have been advocated for by Anil Cheriyan who was recently recognized as the Enterprise CIO of the Year 2015. The award commonly referred to as “Orbie” was presented by the Georgia CIO Leadership Association. 

III. IS Vision 

As previously mentioned, SunTrust Bank is focused on increasing its business operations through extensive increase of the digital business. The CIO has been the central figure in ensuring IS plays an important role in the firm’s operations. Cheriyan pointed out that the banking industry experienced a drastic change in the way business is conducted as many of them have turned digital (Rogers, 2015). Many clients do not wish to visit the available bank branches instead preferring to get access of their financial information via mobile devices. As a result, organizations should adopt more innovative ideas that adapt to the changing experiences in the industry. The presentation of transformation needs of the company is an important factor towards achieving an important role of IS in the company practices. This was an approach that Cheriyan implemented to develop improve SunTrust’s use of technology. The first step was in establishing a transformation team that was immediately approved by the company’s board of directors. This would be followed by the creation of a transformational plan that this team had developed and not just its leader (Hein, Koch, & Nounamo, 2012). Employee engagement in the development of these strategies is an important factor in the decisions made by the CIO. 

There are five primary strategic capabilities that the team developed in an effort to improve its operational capabilities. The first is developing digital channels and analytics capabilities. According to the CIO, this is an important process particularly in expanding the reach of the organization. In the current set-up, banking operations rely on face-to-face interaction. However, consumers would prefer to engage in anywhere, anytime and “my way” interactions. This digital strategy is integral to the development of client centered relationships. With numerous financial institutions, yet to incorporate such standards, SunTrust will significantly increase its market share surpassing its region in the Southeastern states. 

The next step in the company’s vision is to exploit the value of data in its daily operations. In a society that is continuously changing, corporations will benefit from keeping record of various changes and trends in the client preferences and behavior. SunTrust recognizes the use of data as a competitive weapon used to ease implementation of the digital channels and the future success. The use of data will identify the features of digital applications that clients find useful such that when designed they are easily adopted into daily practices. Without data to back these ideas, SunTrust cannot compete with is competitors in the industry. 

The third step in the plan is to ensure the variability of processes ad operations as a means of ensuring easy adjustment of the company to market effects. There are numerous cases where the financial institution may perform excellently while in other cases it takes a dip (Hein, Koch, & Nounamo, 2012). The organization has ensured heavy spending in this area to have maximum positive impact on the experiences of the client, improving efficiency of tasks and maximizing the profitability of IS products. SunTrust notes that these practices have direct impact on the transformation opportunity for the company. 

The final strategies of IS department in SunTrust is to ensure improvement and modernization of infrastructure. The field of information systems is the modern society is a vital factor towards the success or failure of a given business. The main of SunTrust is to leverage service-oriented infrastructure in the shared technologies. This practice will ensure that the organization increases its revenue and competitive advantage over competitors fixes (Papadimitriou, Gogas, & Tabak, 2013). Additionally, the company will incorporate its internal IS personnel to ensure technology is up to industry standard in an effort to increase performance of the systems, improving employee productivity and bettering client experience. 

IV. IS Guidelines 

There are various guidelines that the holding company adopted in the process of promoting high level of IS innovation. The first part was to ensure acceleration into the technological systems. The primary goal in this case, is to ensure information systems are part and part of the daily operations of the company. Hereby, this practice is evident from a transfer from the old-fashioned physical interactions with clients to the numerous digital channels (Dykes, 2015). The incorporation of technology is important as the company seeks to prevent loss of customers who do not want to visit the available branches. Another technical guideline is improving using the data on market behaviors in developing and implementation of these systems. According to the CIO, the 21 st Century is a world filled with information that could help in delivery of appropriate applications that serve the needs of the consumer (Dykes, 2015). Data received from conducting extensive research helps the information and technology department to identify the market niche in the finance industry. As mentioned earlier, one of the major challenges of mobile applications is the fact that they lack compatibility with the numerous devices fixes (Papadimitriou, Gogas, & Tabak, 2013). Therefore, such information will enable the company design quality channels that apply to the numerous smartphone operating systems available in the market. 

There are also various organizational guidelines that the holding company employs in its strategic plan to improve information systems. The most important is financial investment that is provided by the board of directors. The SunTrust Bank identifies technological improvements as an important factor in the process of transformation of the company. Therefore, the top executives have increased the investment on process and operation areas in the incorporation of technology systems fixes (Papadimitriou, Gogas, & Tabak, 2013). As the company transforms into a digitalized banking system, the goal is to ensure profitability of the product while enhancing the experiences of the clients when using them. In this case, the organization recognizes increasing value and long-term goals as more important that the short-term fixes (Papadimitriou, Gogas, & Tabak, 2013). The social aspect of innovating information systems in the firm is another organizational guideline employed. There have been numerous practices in the company that increase discussion of the next means of developing the firm. The innovation hubs serve as virtual platforms where all employees in SunTrust can share ideas and criticize others. The practice helped in breaking down barriers created by departments and professional roles instead creating a cohesive unit among all employees (Ryan, 2013). From these discussions, SunTrust went further to create ‘Innovation Fridays” where the most vocal and active persons are brought together to create solutions for an entire day regular practice provides the company with 

The IS guidelines in this case have presented the technical and organizational aspects that will help in improving the technology. From this report, it is evident that the planning does not forget important factors in both aspects fixes (Papadimitriou, Gogas, & Tabak, 2013). In the technical area, the CIO advocates for digital channels and analytic that is achieved through innovation and renovation. The system in question shows that too much innovation in an industry that has been present for over a century could be detrimental to the desired purpose (Ryan, 2015). Therefore, renovation could be important where the currently available systems are improved in terms of speed and efficiency ((SunTrust Banks, 2015b). Though the development of a transformational plan was carried out by a team of experts, its implementation would be spread out to all employees. The innovation hubs evidently state that not only the professionals in the information technology department are knowledgeable in providing solutions, but also those from other sectors (Hein, Koch, & Nounamo, 2012). This practice is important in the creation of a collaborative culture within the company as it breaks down the barriers created by departments. The organizational behavior also increases the likelihood of adopting these systems once they have been designed and implemented. 

V. IS Initiatives 

Through this process of innovation and transformation SunTrust Bank employed numerous guidelines for achieving this goal. The first and probably the most important is the creation of an innovative culture. In this case, the CIO along with the top executives wish to enforce a culture that prompts its members to think creatively and develop solutions for the numerous problems in the finance industry (SunTrust Banks, 2016b). The expectation in this case is to make things faster from the processes, development and implementation of products. Despite the accelerated pace workers will ensure that that quality is not ignored. Another important initiative in the strategic plan towards improved information systems is the emphasis of talent in the transformation process. According to SunTrust, talented employees give the company an edge over its competitors (SunTrust Banks, 2016a). This perspective is used in the hiring process of various sectors including the information security and compliance, and information security-application assessment analyst job positions. The organization could also engage in the improvement of skills and competencies of the available workers as a means of reducing the stresses of the hiring process. In the event that the banking and holding company engages in the use of established vendors or start-ups, only those with the highest level of talent are considered for the available positions. The institution identifies the formation of strategic partnerships as the ideal factors of guaranteed competitive advantage. 

Despite the high level of planning employed to ensure a smooth transition of there are various issues that could arise that require urgency and skill to solve. The process of bringing together the IT and business departments is no easy task. This requires high level of caution in regulating and taking control of the transition process. In history, the two units have experience hostility between each other each seeking to be at the helm of control (SunTrust Banks, 2016b). However, to ensure successful collaboration it is important that a two-way system is established. Both departments are heavily involved in the development and creation of profitable products. Therefore, the SunTrust holding company will incorporate the use of crisis and conflict personnel. In this case, the professional hired will conduct critical evaluation of the needs of each party and areas where issues may arise. Crisis and conflict resolution is important to the development of the company through this transformational period. Such a department will conduct assessments of the future and present situation in predicting issues that may cause failure of the project. In light of this, pointing out a potential crisis will allow for adequate time to make changes and alleviate the consequences involved. 


Case, T., Gardiner, A., Rutner, P., & Dyer, J. (2013). A linkedin analysis of career paths of information systems alumni. Journal of the Southern Association for Information Systems , 1(1). 

Dykes, D. (2015, Sep 25) SunTrust Banks CEO talks about the future of banking . Greenville Online, Retrieved from http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/money/2015/09/25/suntrust-banks-ceo-talks-future-banking/72797706/ 

Hein, S. E., Koch, T. W., & Nounamo, C. (2012). Moving FDIC insurance to an asset-based assessment system: Evidence from the special assessment of 2009. Journal of Economics and Business , 64(1), 24-36. 

Huang, X., Zhou, H., & Zhu, H. (2012). Systemic risk contributions. Journal of financial services research , 42(1-2), 55-83. 

Kanno, M. (2015). Assessing systemic risk using interbank exposures in the global banking system. Journal of Financial Stability , 20, 105-130. 

Lee, N. (2017) 5 Major Challenges Driving CIOs Today . Banking CIO Outlook, Retrieved from http://www.bankingciooutlook.com/cxo-insights/5-major-challenges-driving-cios-today-nwid-94.html 

Papadimitriou, T., Gogas, P., & Tabak, B. M. (2013). Complex networks and banking systems supervision. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications , 392(19), 4429-4434. 

Press, G. (2014, July 25) SunTrust CIO Drives Digital By Renovating and Innovating IT . Forbes, Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/gilpress/2014/07/25/suntrust-cio-drives-digital-by-renovating-and-innovating-it/#38f84914307f 

Rogers, W. H. (2015) Annual Report: Lighting the Way to Financial Well Being . SunTrust Banks, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.annualreports.com/HostedData/AnnualReports/PDF/NYSE_STI_2015.pdf 

Ryan, P. (2013, Aug 29) SunTrust CIO Talks SMAC (as the Foundation for IT Strategy) . Bank Innovation Retrieved from http://bankinnovation.net/2013/08/suntrust-cios-talks-smac-as-the-foundation-for-it-strategy/ 

SunTrust Banks, Inc. (2015, Nov 19) SunTrust CIO Anil Cheriyan Named Enterprise CIO of the Year by Georgia CIO Leadership Association . PR Newswire, Retrieved from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/suntrust-cio-anil-cheriyan-named-enterprise-cio-of-the-year-by-georgia-cio-leadership-association-300182137.html 

SunTrust Banks, Inc. (2016a, May 05) Atlanta United Announces Multi-Year Partnership with SunTrust as Club's Official Bank . PR Newswire, Retrieved from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/atlanta-united-announces-multi-year-partnership-with-suntrust-as-clubs-official-bank-300263694.html 

SunTrust Banks, Inc. (2016b, May 12) SunTrust Named One of the Top 100 Business Technology Innovators in the U.S. by InformationWeek . PR Newswire, Retrieved from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/suntrust-named-one-of-the-top-100-business-technology-innovators-in-the-us-by-informationweek-300267609.html 

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