Managing Global IT: Priceless

By Samuel Greengard  |  Posted 2008-10-30 Print this article Print

Managing one of the largest IT operations in the world, MasterCard’s Rob Reeg must deal with a variety of technologies and issues, including virtualization, server consolidation, storage, mobility, security and green initiatives.

title=Leading the Charge}

Leading the Charge

Despite its success, MasterCard faces some business and IT challenges. For one thing, it faces stiff competition from Visa International, the world’s largest issuer of credit cards, which went public with an initial public stock offering in February 2008. That milestone instantly moved MasterCard into the second spot among publicly traded card and payment processors. (MasterCard went public in May 2006.)

The firm also has faced legal challenges from rival American Express over alleged monopolistic practices. In addition, it must cope with potential regulation in Europe, where officials have clamored to cut the company’s commissions on transactions.

However, Reeg believes that the biggest roadblock to future success is the shortage of IT talent and the growing difficulty of filling certain positions. On the upside, “MasterCard is a global organization, and we are able to leverage IT talent all around the world,” he observes. “But there’s no question that the goal of landing top IT talent is becoming tougher every year. We also see fewer and fewer minorities and women filling technology-related positions—a trend that cannot continue indefinitely.”

Nevertheless, MasterCard is charging forward and redefining the future of payments, transactions and interactions. Reeg knows that it’s essential to build out and maintain an IT framework that allows the company to stay ahead of its competitors, including Visa, American Express and Discover. More importantly, MasterCard must ready itself for ongoing change and the whims of a fast-moving marketplace.

“The industry is undergoing a remarkable transition,” Reeg concludes, “and it’s up to us to use IT to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Samuel Greengard is a freelance writer for Baseline.

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