The buying process for technology solutions at major banks and asset managers has changed considerably over the past few decades. Two factors have been instrumental in driving these changes.
The first change we have seen is the implementation of standardised procurement processes that were refined in business processes like Six Sigma. These processes leverage a centralised procurement team and a prescriptive procurement process to support and control how business teams license new technology systems. This transition has forced business managers to learn how to conform their needs to corporate ‘standards’, some of which are diametrically opposed to what the business team is trying to accomplish.
Over the past decade we have seen that most organisations have found a way to harmonise these sometime conflicting processes. Today, most centralised procurement processes have morphed into a valued partner to most of the business teams that we support at KRM22.
Another change to the technology buying process finds major institutions discovering value in technology that ‘disrupts’ current business processes versus augmenting them. This challenge can present difficult issues that must be addressed.
By fundamentally changing how a business operates, the human capital component of an institution can be impacted in ways that may produce unintended consequences.
A great discussion of this challenge was recently published by The Harvard Business Review in a case study by Leonard Schlesinger. The case study looked at how the implementation of a new technology solution at a regional bank could hurt morale at a commercial bank.
This was important as this bank had carved out a unique space in the commercial lending market by providing a lending process that leverages “high touch” service to its customers. This process created a unique and distinctive service that was hard or impossible for larger financial institutions or newly created FinTech companies to compete with.
The bank knew it’s lending team were critical to providing this type of service. There was concern that the result of the automation project would disrupt their team and destroy the high morale needed to provide the bank’s “secret sauce”. Before completing the new technology plan, the banks senior IT resources met with senior management to find a solution to this question.
The answer came from patience, empowerment, and involvement. The bank’s CEO had to temper her desire to obtain short term earnings improvement in order to avoid marginalising the bank’s unique value proposition. They had to delay the implementation of this new technology until the bank’s executives, managers and line workers could get actively involved in the project.
Work groups were created with specific deadlines tore-imagine the business post implementation. The work groups found a way to leverage an empowerment of the customer to complete tasks through automated processes and web sites while still providing a service level that FinTech’s and larger financial institutions could not or would not offer.
This underscores one of the foundations of customer service that we employ at KRM22. While we know how great our risk solutions are, we also know if our customer’s work teams are not actively ‘bought in’ to the changes we are helping to implement, our customers will not realise all the benefit we can provide.
Dan Carter, Head of Customer Services at KRM22, sees this on a daily basis. Dan says, “We see customer engagement as a core principle for delivering quality systems to our client base. With customers that we have regular interactions with, we see vast improvements with efficiencies and functionality in comparison to those that are less engaged with us and our teams. We are a true Software as a Service (SaaS) company, and by engaging with us, clients get so much more from their applications than those that do not.”