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Sometimes It Takes A Dr. Phil To Come Up With The Right Tech Decision

Make a bad loan. Fire the wrong person. Hire your wife to head up marketing. Open a branch near your home. Make your own commercials. Invest in MSFT. Bank at your own bank. All those mistakes can be undone at some measurable cost. But don't play politics with technology.

I have never viewed more than ten seconds of a Dr. Phil episode, so I apologize in advance if I used the wrong metaphor. And since I'm in an apologetic mood, I should admit up front that I will step on lots of toes in the process of getting across a very important message: "Don't play politics with technology."Make a bad loan. Fire the wrong person. Hire your wife to head up marketing. Open a branch near your home. Make your own commercials. Invest in MSFT. Bank at your own bank. All those mistakes can be undone at some measurable cost.

Technology mistakes last forever even after the checks have been written. That's why at the kickoff meeting of a client assignment (with usually 35 people in the audience), I open with this statement: "Good morning, this will be the last conversion you will make at this bank even if you live to be a hundred."

I'm not saying you should leave your heart and soul out of the decision process. But make sure you do the science first. I do the science based on 814 criteria. Then I ask my clients to spend the next 30 days doing whatever makes them comfortable.

Some visit peer banks. Some visit the vendor of choice. Some organize the 35 team members into groups and vote on their choice. Some take pot shots at the science to make sure it will pass the tests of the examiners who will surely show up one year after go-live. Some find a devil's advocate and put the burden on that person to look for flaws or omissions in the process used.

In my experience, the best devil's advocates have been, Auditors, CFOs, and a small number of CEOs. And if any of those advocates are women, you just got a huge bonus. Don't ask me why. Maybe it's because decades ago, banks hired young female high school graduates to work the teller lines and the back rooms. In time they advanced to positions of strength, even though not necessarily recognized by some managements. Today, they "run" the bank from the bottom-up and they possess the virtue of telling the truth, with no political motives.

It's a matter of record, folks. Some of the largest banks have been offenders of world series class tech disasters. Their common misstep was using technology to boost an in-house ego that you'll still see in all vendor brochures - leading edge technology.

Ah, that felt good, and I didn't even have to find a shrink to get it off my chest.

- Art Gillis www.artgillis.comMake a bad loan. Fire the wrong person. Hire your wife to head up marketing. Open a branch near your home. Make your own commercials. Invest in MSFT. Bank at your own bank. All those mistakes can be undone at some measurable cost. But don't play politics with technology.

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