Sheila Jeffrey joined B of A five-and-a-half years ago to stand up an information architecture practice in the bank’s consumer business technology organization. As she got that process under way, she sensed a broader opportunity for full enterprise architecture capabilities and moved to her current role more than two years ago.

With 30 years of experience that spans enterprise information management as well as architecture, much of her work today consists of informal influencing and leadership.

“Like many banks we have a strong divisional structure and our technology tends to align in parallel with that,” Jeffrey says. “There is an opportunity to provide cross-pollination and synergy across the vertical views of our business, which is why we see information architecture as more horizontal than vertical.”

She chairs the information architecture review board, a committee of senior architects from each of the division and corporate function-focused organizations. That body provides consistency of view and standardization of practices across the information and data delivery space. She also runs weekly social education update meetings with the information architect community at B of A that numbers roughly 200. 

It’s an unending mission to manage compliance and look for value. “We have identified significant information elements required for regulatory reporting or control functions and we prioritize there across divisional functions,” Jeffrey says. “At a company of our size [250,000-plus employees], with all the acquisitions and automation you end up with this massive pool of info assets, some are duplicative and winnowing that out is very time and money intensive. The likelihood that we will put that level of control over everything from a scope perspective would be very ambitious and might not even be warranted.”

Quotable: “Have the humility to know that leading a group is actually a service role to free up the other members of the team so they can perform and contribute. Clear the road so folks can come down and not be impeded by bureaucracy or lack of resources. After that you can look for where leadership or decisions are needed and facilitate those things.”

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