To digitally transform banks can look outside to enhance their capabilities

Imagine you were planning to take just one trip. Would you learn to drive just for that journey? It would be more efficient to take a taxi. In the same way, it can prove very costly for organisations to train up staff with the skills to carry out a specific project which, once it is completed, are no longer all that useful to the functioning of the business.

Growing pressure from regulators and new competitors, such as Fintechs and challenger banks, means financial services firms are having to digitally transform on an unprecedented scale.

Some financial services firms are choosing to procure a digital advantage by buying or partnering with Fintechs, to incorporate the technical agility that competitors have previously used to challenge them. But others are responding to this new challenge by organically developing a competitive business agility to match the new challengers.

But this is often easier said than done. A recent survey found that only 8 percent of global enterprises consider themselves digitally transformed, with 23 percent only in the early stages of digital transformation.[1] Much of this may be down to the skills shortage in IT and project management. A report by the Project Management Institute found that the shortage of project managers is growing even faster than was anticipated five years ago, which could lead to a loss of $207.9 billion in GDP for major economies by 2027.[2]

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Businesses constantly use third party providers for a variety of business processes, but project management has not traditionally been treated in the same way. Financial services firms usually have phenomenal expertise in what they currently do – but for knowledge and capabilities that are new to the business, it is often better to look outside.The benefits of project management as a service includes the ability to quickly scale up and down with projects, outsource risk, and take advantage of the outside expertise to assess the current delivery capability.

This rate of change of course involves a large number of new projects, translating systems onto a cloud-based platform, for instance. This requires a lot of work, so businesses need a huge amount of new staff and expertise to carry these out and a corresponding level of management expertise to guide these projects to their finish.

And it is important to get projects right. On average, only 64 percent of projects actually meet their goals.[3] This kind of project failure can be costly, with organisations losing $109 million for every $1 billion they invest in projects.[4]

It can often take a substantial amount of resources to assign or train up project managers internally in order to manage these new initiatives, especially as some projects take a lot more work to set up than to maintain.

>See also: Bank of England CIO shares key to CIO success

For instance, under GDPR, most large businesses will need a dedicated Data Protection Officer (DPO), to monitor the day-to-day use of sensitive data within the company. But making the initial changes to assure systems are GDPR-compliant requires advanced data-breach detection systems, and the ability to detect every place customer data is kept throughout the system.  This demands an intensive initial project and a large array of expertise that might not be necessary once the job is done.

The ability to take hold of expertise as and when it is needed is particularly key in technology development as speed is often of the essence and sometimes projects are needed in response to a crisis. Being able to have a fully functioning team available within say ’72 hours’ is unheard of as teams are normally recruited along the traditional legacy model. However, having such a service available is at the heart of project management as a service.

Finding suppliers who can provide trained project managers means organisations can reap the benefits of a native-skilled project manager without the expense of training, or the risk of losing this due to an early departure. These project managers will have all the necessary skills to carry out a complex undertaking, be briefed on company culture and trained to fit seamlessly into the existing structure.

Such a service needs to be bespoke and scalable to each organisation, fitting in with the life cycle of the project. With control responsibilities tied into this, banks can allow the third party to shoulder the responsibility for projects, as well as the risk. This makes it the service provider’s prerogative to keep track of projects, assessing the risks and providing banks with timely and accurate reporting over the life cycle of the project.

By bringing in external expertise, project managers can help traditional players to become agile and responsive to changing regulations, technologies and customer expectations, as the digital landscape continues to develop. By contracting suppliers to train up project managers and take on the risk themselves, organisations can reap the benefit of external expertise without the necessary investment in training for a one-time use.






Sourced by Gavin Stead, Head of Programme Services at Gibbs Hybrid. 

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