Jeff DeLong’s office overlooks downtown Columbia, S.C., where South State Bank is headquartered. You definitely get the sense he’s keeping a watchful eye over the city – apropos, since his job as Chief Information Officer (CIO) includes protecting South State’s systems and customers from cyber criminals and other cyber threats.
Protecting the bank’s systems and customers is only one facet of Jeff’s role, though. He’s also responsible for leading more than 100 technology professionals to deliver on his vision: enable better business and customer outcomes through technology.
Spend even a small amount of time with Jeff, and you can tell he’s a leader. His Information Technology team members have described him as the sort of leader you want to follow – calm, caring and genuinely interested in listening to his team.
It’s that leadership – along with a track record of accomplishing significant improvements and changes in his two years as South State’s CIO – that recently resulted in Jeff being named one of the recipients of the inaugural S.C. CIO Awards. The awards, given by the publishers of three S.C. business magazines, recognize CIOs who have shown leadership in their organization through strategic implementation of enterprise-wide IT systems that add business value and innovation. A team of external judges reviewed the nominations of the award candidates and scored them based on a series of questions detailing their accomplishments.
In his two years as CIO, Jeff and his team have successfully navigated: two bank acquisitions and the “onboarding” of their systems and customers, a technology transformation that enhanced many of South State’s core banking service components; and a restructuring of the IT organization to support South State’s growth. All of this major change was done against the backdrop of developing a best-in-class IT governance function, establishing a national-award-winning Enterprise Architecture function within IT, introducing an IT project management office and prioritizing integration as a key to digital success.
Jeff is quick to point out that these honors are the result of the entire team’s work. “I am proud of what we have accomplished collectively,” he said. “These awards validate our maturity as an organization and authenticate the enterprise-class IT capabilities we are building to support South State Bank and its customers.”
More than a leader in his company, Jeff is also a leader in his field, serving as an active member of the Mid-size Bank Coalition, the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Consortium (FSISAC), FBI Infragard and the S.C. Bankers Association IT forum.