Providing strategic technical support as Catholic Development Fund’s virtual CTO
Since 2018, 9Yards has been proud to provide ongoing strategic technological support to Catholic Development Fund. They were embarking on a significant and challenging program to modernise their technology landscape, transitioning from an internal IT bureau that primarily supported their core banking system, to a modern service-oriented business function that offers a broader range of services and products.
Our team was initially engaged to undertake enterprise architecture activities, which evolved into a long term engagement in the form of Virtual CTO support.
Catholic Development Fund is a profit-for-member fund that provides a range of financial products and services to Catholic businesses – including schools, hospitals, aged care and churches – predominantly within the diocese of Melbourne. It also provides IT support and services to other Catholic development funds across Australia and New Zealand, assisting them with banking software and associated technology services.
Using enterprise architecture to discern a strategy
Our initial engagement with the Fund was enterprise architecture work, which essentially explores three questions: where are we now, where are we going, how do we get there? At that stage, the organisation had undertaken a significant technology project to transition away from a key service delivery partner, and wanted external support to confirm their approach. They also needed to determine their next technological priorities to further align with the broader business direction.
Through our engagement, we developed a target state vision and a supporting three-year-roadmap to realise that vision. This gave the Head of IT and the governing board clarity around the cost of initiatives, and where to prioritise efforts. Following this roadmap, 9Yards was further engaged to provide ongoing support in a virtual CTO capacity.
Fortifying internal efforts with vCTO support
For the last three years, 9Yards has been working alongside Catholic Development Fund’s in-house solution architects to reach each of the transitional states defined in their roadmap – providing support as a vCTO. Our work revolves around applying our industry knowledge and vast experience in the financial space to their initiatives. We are constantly reviewing the efficacy of activities undertaken as well as planning out the runway of change and how the internal solution architects can be optimising their workflow. To date, we have not needed to make any fundamental changes to our initial roadmap – it has proven to be an accurate strategy to facilitate change and growth.
During this engagement, we have advised the Fund through the execution of core banking upgrades and uplift in reporting capabilities, the establishment of integration services, payment support services, merchant services and end-user computing security and compliance.
We are able to bring our specific experience in the finance space as well as our toolkit of resources and processes, honed over years of application in a range of organisations. Compared to hiring a dedicated full-time CTO internally, the engagement has been a high-ROI option that has improved security and led to freshly empowered team members driving new products and services – diversifying revenue streams.
I would highly recommend 9Yards – they have been of immense value to CDF, bringing industry and domain expertise and experience to assist in the design of our technology solutions. 9Yards has worked in a very collaborative manner, and has been extremely flexible, being on hand to provide assistance to the design of a variety of solutions.