Crawl – Walk – RunDecember 5, 2016
In my last post I discussed how we at Beringer Finance are leveraging technology to help disrupting the investment banking industry. Yet disruptive transformations do not happen overnight. Establishing momentum is an important element of any successful change journey, but it is particularly critical when tackling disruptive transformation. It is critical to use the journey as an opportunity to demonstrate early results and gain recognition for a willingness to innovate and experiment.
One model often used for defining a successful journey process is to split it into three phases: crawl, walk, and run. Why crawl before you can run? Because we already have IT operations in place and established processes and not a „clean slate“ in which entirely new processes can be implemented with no impact on existing operations. We can’t leap out of the gate with a completely overhauled strategy. At first, we have to evaluate what’s going on today, analyze how it will effect current operations and identify apparent holes.
The crawl-walk-run approach is a classic example of a continual improvement model. Baseline assessments are taken to understand not only technology practices, but the people and business areas affected. By aligning each step of the effort with the corporate vision and single out objectives and establish a clear “How do we get there?” path. Then comes the time to measure results, revealing answers to the “Did we get there?” question. Only after improvement is measured do we expand into broader areas, such as strategies for keeping this momentum going and even expanding it.
This leads to an “improvement culture” that allows Crawl, Walk, Run to truly take flight. In this blog post I want to focus on the key elements of the Crawl phase, a phase that has already started and is expected to finish in the first quarter of 2017. The focus of this phase is to put in place the digital foundation of Beringer Finance, enabling it to grow into the leading technology focused investment bank of the world.
The Crawl Phase
The crawl phase consists of the following key tasks
• Move core systems into the cloud
A legacy IT infrastructure does not allow us to grow our digital capabilities. Maintaining our own hardware infrastructure leads to significant time being spent on making sure systems are up and running, a task that is better left to cloud service providers. By moving into the cloud, we free up time for IT staff to work on bringing on new capabilities rather than focusing their time on “keeping the lights on”.
• Simplify IT compliance through outsourcing of auditing functionality
Being a regulated investment bank puts various regulatory requirements on us. The current legacy infrastructure used to meet these requirements is outdated and complex to operate. Moving toward cloud-based compliance infrastructure also enables easier auditing of our IT systems, since the providers we chose are already validated and audited for other investment banks.
• Enable global workforce and collaboration
With five offices in four countries and three time-zones it is essential that staff can easily communicate and interact with each other in a simple, yet powerful manner. We are installing a video conferencing solution in all of our meeting rooms and enabling customer and staff meetings over the same system. Moving core systems to the cloud also enables staff to access them from anywhere, reducing the requirements for remote terminal access which does not work effectively from remote locations.
• Put in place CRM and document management systems that lay groundwork for future systems
As a distributed company, being able to track customer interaction, manage a cross-border pipeline, and share material being produced in an effective manner is crucial to effective coordination of customer projects, from when they get identified as potential deals, until they get closed. Given the sensitive nature of information we handle and the regulatory security and auditing requirements, we have selected industry leading CRM from SalesForce and a state of the art document management solution, Box.com that have already been vetted to meet those requirements. These systems, form the basis for our digital architecture of the future.
• Tracking and reporting of basic KPIs
In order to monitor the successful execution of our investment banking deals we must have effective ways to measure our performance. We at Beringer Finance are strong believers in the Four Disciplines of Execution model from Franklin Covey. We will leverage the SalesForce to help us track the key indicators of successful deal execution. We will provide managers with real-time access to dashboards that make the process visible for each individual employee.
• Effective pipeline management
To enable successful deal management and increase predictability in our revenue generation, we will provide leaders at all levels with an easy mechanism to track each potential and mandated deal as it progresses through our sales process.
In the next blog post I will go into more detail about how we are rolling out these new systems and processes and give you an insight into how far we are crawling before we start up and walk.
Chief Technology Officer