Need of a Dedicated Program Manager to Deliver a Transformation Project

At our bank we have a perfectly working cards management system, no production issues and we are really happy with it! – Sounds melodious but is that true?

The reality is, most of the banks are looking for a better solution in order to gather better market share and achieve banking excellence. The systems are constantly getting upgraded, compliance changes applied, ad-hoc fixes made. Thus getting more and more complicated to manage over the years. The situation worsens when the inherent system data is inconsistent

The typical dilemma for a banker starts when they see some ‘challenges’ & ‘limitations’ on the existing cards management system. The system selection related thought processes gets triggered and it starts the long journey of replacing or upgrading the existing system. One of the first question that banks come across is who can deliver this for us? Can our internal team do it for us or do we need industry experts to deliver it?

“We have a full-fledged TPMO office established, they will manage this transformation program” Thinking from one of the organization.

“We have recently expanded our team by hiring, so one of them can manage this transformation program” Said another Institution.

“We must keep control with us and hence our Business PM must manage this” Says another.

Another bank had an idea that “My Operations BAU team manager can manage this along with routine work as a part time solution”.

“Let’s go out and hire the services of consultant those are best in the industry to deliver the value for our transformation program” Opined another.

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Perhaps a combination is required to solve it. But one thing is for certain, it needs a dedicated – full time, program manager, a practitioner to deliver such critical task like transformation.

Convincing the sponsors and decision makers about a dedicated program manager is the first step in this enterprise transformation journey!

A transformation journey from inception to go-live is an amalgamation of multiple projects to be managed at same time. Managing all of them at once really takes some effort and skills.

Initial few weeks (sometime months) go on for deliberating and finding out options that are suitable for the bank. Albeit all the thoughts and efforts its then a necessity to involve the experts and SMEs in the fields who can guide it on the proper channel. Bankers are good at banking business but it takes a professional project management services to deliver a successful transformation journey.

A findings was published by Mark Langley (President and CEO of PMI.org). It stated that Organizations that invest in proven project management practices wastes 28 times less money. It results in to strategic initiatives completed successfully. IT greatly emphasizes on the need of a profession project management services.

If we look at a medium to large size banking organization looking to implement a card management system either as a greenfield or a transformation project, we see following common components to it:

  • Solution Product Vendors
  • In-house IT teams
  • Business Teams
  • Project Sponsors
  • 3rd party interfacing teams
  • Independent testing teams
  • Quality gatekeepers
  • Change management team
  • Various Decision Makers
  • Operations team
  • Branch & Kiosk Teams
  • BAU support Teams
  • Embossing vendor
  • Payment Schemes like MC, VISA, Amex
  • Local ATM network switches
  • Merchant partners and acquiring channels
  • ATM, POS devices
  • Audit and compliance Teams
  • . . . . . . . . . .

The list keeps on growing and becomes a herculean task to manage it. An experience project manager will ensure that all these aspects are well managed, kept under control and properly governed.

Bank teams are staffed for the business growth and departmental tasks that are routine in nature. They are seldom equipped with knowledge and experience to handle such big transformation projects. A few decision makers or some strategic position holders inside the banks usually have the experience and pedigree to handle such kind of projects. If a bank can get such a program manager in-house then nothing like it, but on most occasions Banks will have to look out to hire or contract consulting services of such a skillset.

On a project, the challenges are endless and the journey is tiresome; a dedicated program manager with right mindset and skills it should become a successful one!

Prasanna Chitale

Prasanna is Head of Innovation at Verinite and member of Leadership Team. He has worked across various locations including Europe, Middle east and India on projects providing services in retail and corporate banking domain. Outside his work, he is a photographer, a traveler, and a mathematics enthusiast.