It’s impossible to imagine a better test for the remote delivery of financial services than COVID-19. A transition that might have stretched over months or years was compressed into weeks, even days. Is it working? And what are the elements that banks and their technology providers need to have in place to make it effective?
The pandemic’s arrival was a blow that caught many businesses off-guard. Any strategies that have survived it so far are the ones that were already factoring in new ways of doing business.
In many cases, this means looking to the cloud. A technology that was met with some concern in financial services until relatively recently is now seen as a principal platform on which banks can operate and service customers. As economies scramble to get back to growth, banking is at the heart of their plans – and there are many opportunities for banks that are quick enough to adapt. Their challenge now is to be able to offer a fully digitized and remote service via the cloud, with minimal disruption.
What are the best practices that can make this possible? Project management methodologies need to evolve, for a start. Using more automation shortens delivery cycles and standardized tasks that don’t need to be human-driven. Alongside that, AI can simulate how to shorten cycles further, as well as stress-testing whether you’re able to get to market faster.
Gartner has predicted that by 2030, around 80% of the routine tasks of project and program management will be handled by human/machine collaboration . Time currently spent gathering information to inform decision-making will instead be able to be focused on motivating teams to work more efficiently.
And with more automation, faster development cycles and critical elements brought into the delivery, it’s possible to get more done in a project so when it cuts over to production, you’re left with assets that you can continue to use. For example, test scenarios can be automated and used in the production cycle as the means of updating and maintaining the system. It’s surprising how much manual testing still happens in the industry: there’s a huge opportunity to save time and money, and reduce errors, by automating it.
Integration is another area where best practice can make plans and systems more responsive. Hard-coded integration is still very common in financial technology products despite its many limitations. Using open APIs and avoiding hard coding provides the flexibility needed to move more quickly and responsively.
There’s little debate now as to whether financial organizations can make transformative leaps like the move to successful remote delivery alone. Success is mostly about partnership today, and banks are seeking partners who blend a visible track record with a collaborative and communicative operating model. Contemporary tools make it possible set up virtual project meeting rooms, where both banks and their technology partners can run design sessions in collaborative workspaces that mimic the best of physical project spaces. These cutting-edge virtual spaces are extremely valuable in project management. Many contemporary videoconferencing and remote working tools, while essential to many aspects of business, lack the specialist features that are needed to keep project management rigorous and efficient in a remote work environment.
However, despite even the best contemporary tools, remote project management isn’t perfect. It has inefficiencies that stem from the different levels of communication to those available in physical spaces. So, it’s important to build this extra time into expectations, and into in-project and client communications.
Technologies such as cloud and automation are essential for a smooth shift to a remote delivery model. And smarter project management methodologies can make the process much more efficient and sustainable. But what’s most important of all is rigorous planning. The best-designed and most adaptable plans are the ones that are able to survive the metaphorical punch in the mouth, so financial firms and vendors can emerge stronger than before in the remote working era.
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