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ELITE 8 2012: Prashant Nema Lives Up to Great Expectations

Silicon Valley Bank CIO Prashant Nema knows his bank must be at the forefront of technology -- because all of its clients are there, as well. One way the bank stays ahead of the curb is through its technologists' collaborative work with many clients to provide feedback on the technology they are developing.

Replacing the Core

At Silicon Valley Bank, Nema has enjoyed the benefits of the bank's recent investments in upgrading its core banking infrastructure. In fact, the deployment of Oracle's Flexcube Core Banking solution is perhaps the biggest single project Nema and his team have undertaken. The implementation of the Oracle Flexcube platform, he says, provides SVB with the capability to manage core banking services in more than 30 currencies, helping enhance the bank's deposit and lending capabilities and enabling it to offer clients centralized access to their accounts.

IT has played "a huge role" in the implementation, Nema reports. "This is almost like gutting and replacing the plumbing of the organization. It is a large-scale project that has multiple phases," he says, adding that there is still one final, rather large phase of the implementation to complete. "The only piece left is the replacement of the legacy platform, and that is more an efficiency gain and process streamlining," Nema explains.

All of the infrastructure work is critical to the bank's strategy as it expands its global presence, according to Nema. "If we wanted to follow our aspirations and our vision of enabling, on a single platform, multicurrency abilities and hence enabling a global bank, we would need the technology that we have," he says.

But thanks to the bank's forward-looking investments, Nema believes SVB is well-positioned to remain at the forefront of financial technology. He also believes the bank will continue to attract top tech talent. The institution's location in Silicon Valley definitely helps it in that regard, but Nema is quick to point out that the bank's location has a downside, too. "It's a blessing and a challenge being headquartered in the Bay Area, where you tend to find the best talent when it comes to technologists," Nema explains. "But you are also competing with the smartest high-tech companies for those resources."

For that reason, SVB diversified its potential employee base, opening a new IT and operations facility in Tempe, Ariz., last year that eventually will house nearly 500 employees. Nema says this will help the bank recruit in the Phoenix area, which he describes as a "hub of tech talent."

When he's not in the office, Nema enjoys hanging out with his 12-year-old son. But he admits his mind is never far from the nature of his work. "In my free time," he says, "I like to hang out with my iPad and read about what's going on in the business technology space."

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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