The “Professionals” series showcases talented experts who support PayPay Group’s operations.
For this issue, we interviewed two members of the IT Strategy Office, responsible for strategy and controls in the System Division, which develops and operates business systems. We asked them about the role and mission of the IT Strategy Office, and what motivates them to work.
Senior Manager of the IT Strategy office, System Division
He came to Japan in 2002, after graduating from university in Korea. After gaining experience as an engineer, he worked in IT service management at a securities firm and a major communication app company. He joined PayPay in November 2021.
Leader of the IT Strategy Team, IT Strategy office, System Division
After graduating from university, he joined a major financial IT company, where he was engaged in the development and operations of financial systems. He then moved to a major telecommunications firm, where he worked as an IT consultant and was involved in IT strategy planning for financial companies. He joined PayPay in March 2022.
Role of “Line 1.5” in Supporting Engineers in the Field
What is the mission of the IT Strategy Office?
The IT Strategy Office plays a role as the 1.5th line of defense, so to speak, participating in both offensive strategy and defensive governance, so that engineers on the ground can focus on their regular work.
Our mission is to increase the quality and speed of development by rapidly going through cycles of envisioning the ideal state of System Division, analyzing the gaps between that and the current situation, and introducing necessary measures into the field.
Engineers on the first line are tasked with driving and operating the projects in front of them, and if they also have to think about governance required in the financial industry, they will become less efficient. On the other hand, if we leave everything to the second line, it is not good for internal control, and it increases the amount of rework for the engineers. So our role is to fill that gap. In addition to creating rules for governance, we are also looking at how to increase efficiency and ensure that the efforts of our engineers are maximized in terms of results.
What specific tasks do you perform?
One is the formulation and promotion of strategies within the System Division. To be more exact, this includes the formulation of medium- and long-term goals and KPIs, as well as the promotion and monitoring of implemented measures. We also manage costs and contractors.
Other tasks we do are related to controls within the System Division. The System Division is in charge of business systems so we are responsible for formulating development and operation rules, monitoring, and responding to audits.
Driving Organizational Expansion In Line with Business Growth
How was the IT Strategy Office created?
When I joined the company, we had the IT Control Team, the predecessor to the IT Strategy Office, but all of the members were concurrently holding other positions too, and none of them had needed expertise. From there, we set up the IT Strategy Office, and first began by establishing a firm footing as a financial service provider.
I was very happy when Morikawa-san joined the company in March 2022, when we got a new colleague to bounce ideas off of. From there, we were finally able to start in earnest.
Over the past year, we have undertaken a great variety of projects, including the systematization of information management, the establishment of a response mechanism for incidents, the creation of cooperation structures with second-line departments, and the review of company-wide regulations.
Which project made the biggest impression on you?
It’s still ongoing, but the formulation of rules for system development and operations.
Due to the rapid expansion of our business, each system under the jurisdiction of the System Division used to be developed and operated according to its own rules, but now we are establishing uniform ones, and each team is making improvements according to them. Having said that, even if we make rules, they are meaningless unless teams understand, accept, and actually implement them, so we check how each team manages and operates, compare it with the rules, and try to work them by saying “this area is missing something, please do it this way.”
To be honest, when I first joined PayPay, I was surprised at how much more chaotic it was than I expected (laughs).
Every startup company starts out that way. Still, we have been working at a rapid pace this past year to lay the groundwork and achieve results. I think we’re growing just as fast as PayPay’s business.
What motivates you to do your work?
It is rewarding when the rules and systems designed by the IT Strategy Office are objectively evaluated through audits and assessments, and when we realize that things are actually improving in the field. If I had to pick the most enjoyable part about my work, it would be when I am thinking of new ideas. I like the work of creating something new, such as the medium- to long-term plans and KPIs for the next fiscal year that we are now working on.
In my previous job as an IT consultant, I was engaged in strategic planning for financial clients, but I changed jobs because I was frustrated by the inability to make speedy improvements when proposals were made from outside the company. Now I am motivated by the fact that I am given a lot more authority and can immediately contribute to the organization based on my own decisions.
Being able to make an impact through my efforts in a company that can provide value to as many as 55 million people is a very rewarding experience.
From the maintenance phase to the strategy phase
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
We have two roles: strategy and controls. Since we have been focusing on controls to solidify our footing first, we would like to put more emphasis on strategy from now on. We also want to continue to take on challenges with a sense of speed, which is one of PayPay’s strengths, while we become a mature organization that can run on its own by promoting further standardization.
In our department, we are in a position to create our own work without being told what to do by someone else, so there are many new things to do, and everything is challenging. For example, I eventually would like to work with the second-line departments to evaluate whether the systems in operation are actually being used effectively and promote optimization, or we could create mechanisms for collaboration with engineers in the Product Division. I want to further expand the scope of my work and contribute to the improvement of the quality of true IT services.
What do you value in your work at PayPay?
What I value in my work is the cycle of “sharing,” “empathy,” and “realization.” The first step is to share what you want to do in a logical manner. This is to gain the sympathy and understanding of those around you, and to create an environment of cooperation. Then, everyone can experience the results together. This cycle also leads to daring to try new, challenging tasks.
For me, it’s one of PayPay 5 Senses; “Speed is our bet on the market.” My own motivation for joining the company was to achieve results rapidly, and I believe that the added value of speed will also enhance the quality of our business output.
Lastly, do you have a message for readers?
We would like to work with people who want to do essential work and lead projects. Let’s aim for the top together!
I came to PayPay with experience in financial systems, but no governance-related or rule-making experience. Nevertheless, I am still able to help by drawing a picture of how things should be based on my experience in development and explaining it in a logical manner.
PayPay is the perfect environment for those who can work independently and continue to challenge themselves. We would like to invite people who identify with the 5 Senses of PayPay and want to grow the business together.
Current job openings
*The recruitment status is current at the time of the interview.
Special Thanks: Jaejoong, Kohei / Editor: Moe / Author: PayPay Inside-Out Editorial Team / Photographer: Tak & Yuki
*Employees’ affiliations are as of the time of the interview.