Wells Fargo relies on architecture to allow fast response, innovative offerings

2009 InfoWorld CTO 25 Awards: Wayne Mekjian

2009 InfoWorld CTO 25 Awards

Wayne Mekjian
Head of IS

Wells Fargo Bank

It's not easy being a bank these days, and it'd be simpler to rest on your technology laurels until the economic smoke clears. Wells Fargo head of information systems, Wayne Mekjian, takes a different approach. His team has had to act quickly, such as making sure that on the day Wells Fargo bought the ailing Wachovia, customers were recognized at both banks' ATMs immediately. Likewise, he had a matter of weeks to deliver an encrypted messaging system between the two banks allowing for safe, secure communications.

Mekjian ensures his organization can handle such needs by having architects perform ongoing critical system reviews to confirm that key applications are streamlined and offer the greatest efficiency possible. The streamlining of these applications has let Wells Fargo avoid many millions of dollars in cost by reducing the consumption of mainframe capacity. He's also pushed virtualization for server and storage to keep the environment less complex and more affordable.

[ Discover how the lessons learned from the 2009 InfoWorld CTO 25 Award winners can help your IT efforts. ]

As check processing has declined with people using fewer checks, Mekjian proposed that Wells Fargo make its facilities available to smaller banks, becoming a processor for them. That let Wells Fargo keep its check-processing team in place.

And Mekjian has also pushed the bank's technology forward. Last fall, the bank unveiled its revamped ATMs, which let customers personalize their options. For example, customers no longer have to choose a language for the session each time they use the ATM; they can instead set a default language for all sessions. The new ATM system uses data mining to determine each customer's three most frequent transactions and sets up each as a quick-access button when they insert their ATM card. But customers can override the suggested quick-access buttons and specify their own "favorite" transactions. Mekjian says such innovations stem from both ongoing customer research and bringing in new skill sets into his teams to mix new ideas with the deep expertise on the existing technologies.

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