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Full-time Director, Business Applications

at GreatAmerica Financial Services in Cedar Rapids, IA

Director, Business Applications (Cedar Rapids, IA)

Job Description
Position Summary

The Director of Business Applications will lead teams responsible for acquiring, building, deploying and supporting software applications that support GreatAmerica’s business. This role seeks to achieve the appropriate balance between the speed and efficiency of execution with the longer term quality, stability and supportability for the applications that support our business. As a member of the IT leadership team, this individual will apply proven communication and problem-solving skills to cultivate relationships with suppliers, business executives/users as well as other IT teams. This individual will achieve objectives and build a culture of goal attainment and continuous improvement. This individual will work within the architectural vision in the design, development, and deployment of information systems, and serves as the “tip of the spear” for all business applications across the enterprise.


Strategy & Planning

Appropriately envision and plan the “art of the possible” with business and IT stakeholders.
Research and remain current on technology solutions that the technology leadership is planning/considering implementing.
Ensure that applications meet or exceed business needs.
Manage team capacity and capability to remain in line with stakeholder expectations.
Manage external resources as appropriate.
Cultivate and disseminate knowledge of application-usage best practices.
Participate in budget processes to ensure objectives are achieved within fiscal expectations.
Support and participate in Steering Committee and Prioritization Committee meetings, as necessary.
Provide appropriate succession planning and cross-training for the team.

Acquisition & Development

Review and analyze existing applications for effectiveness and efficiency.
Develop strategies for improving or leveraging systems (including removing and/or replacing ineffective systems) while remaining in line with the enterprise architecture roadmap.
Where new applications are needed, research and recommend optimal solutions, taking into consideration architectural vision, technology principles, business need and budget.
Ensure process and application documentation is relevant, current and leveraged.
Ensure that any new software, system or integration into the company platform meets functional requirements, complies with information governance (policy) and fits within our enterprise architectural vision.
Conduct vendor evaluations and make build vs buy recommendations, as needed.
Manages the design, development, and deployment of enhancements and upgrades as well as support of the current software platform.
Contribute to all testing phases in order to identify potential problem areas and make the appropriate recommendations.
Negotiate contracts with software and service providers.

Operational Management

Attract, mentor and maintain a high-performing Software engineering team.
Build and maintain KPIs to enable communication with stakeholders and implement a process of continuous improvement.
Develop teams and processes that utilize agile methodologies.
Manage and provide direction for the application teams in support of business operations.
Liaise with Infrastructure and Architecture teams to assist with platform direction, data processing/retention and overall vision.
Work with QA and Project Services teams to ensure proper collaboration between teams for quality assurance, requirements definition and project management activities.
Compile and maintain inventory of company software and systems and their corresponding contracts/agreements
Work with the Records Management team to maintain this inventory.
Liaise with company’s software suppliers for prompt resolution of any problems or emergencies.
Participate in creating & maintaining the Service Catalog to ensure consistency with business expectations.
Maintain/refine processes, with the Project Services team, for new solution development and support to efficiently meet business expectations.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
Position Requirements

Knowledge & Experience

7+ years direct experience managing business critical applications and/or systems management.
Proven experience in overseeing the direction, development, and implementation of software solutions.
Experience in capacity planning, work load forecasting, measuring business value, and performance tracking and measurement (KPIs) for software development and support teams.
Direct, hands-on experience with modern SDLC software management tools.
Strong knowledge of system and software quality assurance best practices and methodologies.
Strong understanding of various deployment approaches of technology (SaaS, On premise, etc.)
Significant experience with agile methodologies.
Fluent, experienced in Microsoft programming languages.
Working knowledge of hosted and cloud application infrastructure and best practices.
Strong project management skills and/or substantial exposure to project-based work structures.
Working knowledge of the ITIL framework.
Proven ability to understand an organization’s goals and objectives.
Knowledge of applicable data privacy practices and secure programing practices.


For all GreatAmerica team members: Honesty/Integrity, Customer Oriented, Accountability, Tenacious, Communication Skills (Oral & Written), Adaptability

For this position: Communication Skills (Oral & Written), Active Listening, Interpersonal, Research Skills, Technical Aptitude, Self-Motivated, Project Management, Detail Oriented, Analytical Skills, Problem Solving, Creative

Ability to effectively prioritize and execute tasks in a high-pressure environment.
Ability to understand complicated business requirements and facilitate internal discussions to create conceptual solutions and high level sizing estimates.
Contract management skills with effective negotiation skills.
Ability to deal tactfully with vendors, suppliers, and contractors who provide a broad spectrum of products and services.

Strong business aptitude.
Demonstrated experience in personnel management.
Experience at working both independently and in a team-oriented, collaborative environment.
Persuasive, encouraging, and diplomatic.
Ability to elicit cooperation from a wide variety of stakeholders, vendors, service providers and peers.

Strong written and oral communication skills, with proven track record of working with executives.
Strong interpersonal skills.
Strong customer service orientation.
Adept at conducting research into product and service related issues.
Must be able to learn, understand, and apply new technologies rapidly.
Willingness to travel to industry events as well as customer visits and attend events that cultivate relationships (e.g. Trade shows, conferences, etc.)

Education: College degree in the field of computer science, information science, management information systems, or closely related curriculums.

Experience: 7+ years related work experience. Proven experience in overseeing the design, development, and implementation of software (custom and packaged solutions) solutions, systems, or products.

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Published at 05-10-2017
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