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Former BP and JPMorgan Chase CIO Dana Deasy gives his tips on crisis management and disaster recovery

Thomas Macaulay | Sept. 22, 2017
CIO US featured Deasy's lessons from surviving space shuttle crashes, corruption scandals and environmental disasters.

Dana Deasy, former CIO of BP and JPMorgan Chase. Credit: iStock/relif

CIOs can be responsible for some eye-popping IT budgets, but few will match that allocated to Dana Deasy in his last year at JPMorgan Chase.

In 2016, the financial services firm spent more than $9.5 billion on technology, a 16% share of its total expenses. Around $3 billion of this was dedicated toward new initiatives, including $600 million spent on emerging fintech solutions such as COIN, an abbreviation of Contract Intelligence that uses machine learning to automatically review documents.

Deasy was responsible for all the technology systems and infrastructure across the global business of the largest bank in the United States, which has tens millions of customers and upwards of 240,000 employees in more than 60 countries.

He retired as CIO of JPMorgan Chance in September 2017. Before he was appointed to that role in 2013, Deasy had served stints as CIO of General Motors North America, BP, Tyco International and Siemens Corporation Americas.

Deasy had to manage a number of crises in his distinguished career as a CIO. His tips on how to do this were recently featured in CIO UK's sister publication CIO US.


Expect the unexpected

"To me, a crisis is the thing that sometimes isn't directly in your line of sight, but yet you find yourself in the middle of," said Deasey. "Disasters, of course, are the wild variable."

The crises described by Deasy are less predictable than the common problems encountered by a CIO, such as cyber attacks and systems outages.

"If I go over my 30-year career, the vast majority of things I've been involved with and have had issues behind them have not been cyber-related," said Deasy. "They've been a whole bunch of other interesting things - many of which you could have never predicted."

The speed of change and business and IT needs makes the occasional crisis unavoidable, but they can be hard to manage when CIOs are dedicating a growing proportion of their time to transformational activities.

In the 2017 State of the CIO survey, 19% of IT leaders said that managing IT crises was a considerable part of their job, a big drop from the previous year's figure of 27%.

Only 6% cent of those surveyed said crisis management was an area where they would like to spend more time in the next three to five years.

Practice simulations of scenarios can offer a degree of affordable help, but relying on them would be unwise, according to Deasy.


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