episode 840

Culture, Execution, and Agility: Jackson CIO Michael Hicks on Fostering a Customer-Oriented Enterprise

Michael Hicks is the Chief Information Officer of Jackson, a company that provides annuities for retail investors and fixed-income products for institutional investors that has an excess of $290 billion in assets under management. Jackson is comprised of a family of companies which include Jackson Financial Inc., Jackson National Life Insurance Company, and Jackson National Life Insurance Company of New York. Among Michael's claims to fame include his involvement in the creation of some of the industry's first real-time integrations between retirement solutions companies and back offices using API technology. Prior to his current role, he's been the Chief Digital Officer of AF Group, a CIO of Emergent Holdings, and a CIO at Guardian Life. January 25, 2024

840: Adopting a customer-focused culture requires the implementation of internal processes that allow the organization to quickly deliver improvements to the client experience. In this interview, Michael Hicks, CIO at Jackson, shares how he has fostered a customer-oriented culture by understanding the customer journey and setting up an agile architecture with the customer at the center. Michael underlines Jackson’s commitment to customer service and a strong technology strategy that includes data, AI, portfolio management, and more. He speaks about the rationale behind centralizing IT across the organization, separating the CIO and CTO responsibilities, and adopting agile practices on his team. Given his diverse set of leadership experiences, Michael shares how his non-IT background prepared him for the CIO role and what lessons he has brought to his current role. Finally, Michael looks ahead at trends in APIs, AI, and digital experiences that continue to shape the financial industry.

Also available on YouTube:

"We brought technology together to drive standardization, but given the velocity of change that's happening, we [also] want to keep the entire enterprise moving forward so that we have competitive leads in every one of our businesses."

The World Class IT principles in yellow were the focus of this interview

  • 01 1- People
  • 02 2- Infrastructure
  • 03 3- Project and Portfolio Management
  • 04 4- IT & Business Partnership
  • 05 5- External Partnerships

From strategy to implementation

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