Implementation is key to IT success17 November 2011
Within the wealth management industry, regulation is constantly tightening and the client service delivery bar is relentlessly being raised. This invariably puts strain on the bottom line. To combat these effects, the industry increasingly looks to reduce operating costs and increase efficiencies by implementing technology. However, along with the benefits that come from modern IT, also come potential costs and risks. In order to mitigate these, effective implementation of IT projects is critical.
While the various delivery methodologies each have their merits, the individual challenges and constraints of different organisations will typically lend itself to one methodology more than the other.
Knowing which implementation approach is appropriate to which organisation is the hallmark of an effective IT vendor.
So how do you choose the right vendor? It’s more than just having a suitable system. The system may tick all the right boxes in terms of features and functionality, however, if it is not correctly implemented, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Look for a vendor that has experience implementing with organisations similar to your own; do they have experience in your geographic region, with your business type, with similar business requirements? If they have worked (successfully) within similar parameters, you can have more confidence that they can produce the results you are looking for, on time and on budget.
In particular, organisations with less experience implementing new IT systems should look for vendors that have proven skill and familiarity; look for a vendor that can partner with you through the implementation process and provide a smooth knowledge transfer. Where the need for change management is required, look for a vendor that can guide your organisation and employees through the implementation process.
Getting the implementation of your IT platform right can mean improved operational processes, and enhanced ability to provide customer service. A poorly managed implementation can not only put a drain on the bottom line and resource pool, but also damage an organisation’s reputation with its clients – which can perhaps be the most difficult damage to fix.
The old adage holds true; ‘fail to plan and plan to fail’. The best way to ensure a vendor performs successfully and that the implementation goes to plan is to create a detailed and realistic set of criteria for success. A set of pre-agreed clear, realistic and stable goals will increase the likelihood of successful projects. Make sure you know what you expect out of the project before embarking on it.
How has good / bad IT implementation and project management impacted your business?