CIO 100 Award Winners Generate Ideas With Impact

When PNC Financial Services Group set its sights on the lucrative but notoriously fickle college-student market, CIO Anuj Dhanda and his staff didn't take the usual IT approach. There was no tweaking or repackaging of existing offerings.

What they looked at instead was how college kids really like to manage their money. Forget the hassle of multiple accounts; this generation wants money to be simple to manage and move around from one big pool. Tuning in to what these target customers truly wanted led Pittsburgh-based PNC to develop its Virtual Wallet Student, a Web-based set of mobile banking services that is one of this year's CIO 100 Award-winning projects.

The lasting impact of PNC's IT work is especially clear when these students graduate. The bank retains 75 percent of them as customers.

"Get them early and they get used to your technology," says Dhanda. "There's terrific payoff for us."

Throughout our CIO 100 cover story (" Sustainable Innovation,"), you'll find many variations on this theme of innovation that pays long-term dividends. This is the 23rd year for our CIO 100 awards, which celebrate IT projects that are either highly innovative or deliver measurable business value. Most of them manage to do both.

In many of this year's winning projects, we saw new revenue generation coming straight out of IT groups. That's because CIOs are thinking strategically and pushing their organizations "to seek out new ways to engage customers," as Senior Editor Kim S. Nash puts it in her story. "But rather than representing fleeting 'Eureka!' moments, these projects are enabling sustainable innovation."

At Taser International, IT built a new revenue stream by expanding the business into digital-video management. At Procter aanndd Gamble, a virtual product-development environment uses eye-tracking software to instantly record how potential customers react to selected shapes, colors and label designs.

Being able to do virtually-in days or hours-what used to take weeks is an innovation that will get PaannddG products to market faster, while incorporating more test-and-redesign cycles that benefit from consumer and retailer input, says Filippo Passerini, the company's CIO. "That is worth millions in revenue."

Lasting impact. That is the hallmark of a CIO 100 Award.

Read more about innovation in CIO's Innovation Drilldown.

This story, "CIO 100 Award Winners Generate Ideas With Impact" was originally published by CIO.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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