IT migrations are a fact of life for financial services organisations like yours if you want to stay ahead of the competition. But they’re rarely straightforward and come with plenty of pitfalls.
Done well, they can set you up for your next phase of growth, whether that’s giving you the stability you need to execute on your operations or enabling you to tap into new markets and new opportunities quickly and effectively.
Unfortunately for many banks, these migrations don’t go well, and without a carefully considered plan and the right people involved, your migration can go from a streamlined cost-effective project to a major financial burden. One that can frustrate customers and leave you open to significant regulatory risk at the same time.
We’ve seen both, and helped our clients deliver them all successfully. Whether that’s turning around struggling programmes or setting new migrations up for success. We help our clients to navigate their way through the numerous challenges and deliver their migrations on time and on budget.
It’s our teams expertise that sets us apart and what our clients truly value when they work with us.
To share some of that experience to help your migration programme, we sat down with Ian Thomas, Practice Head for Client Migrations at Albany Beck, to ask him about his advice for banks like yours, having spent the last 30-years’ driving IT change in the financial services sector.
You’ve got a huge amount of experience across the financial services sector, what attracted you to Albany Beck?
I was excited about building a team of brilliant migration and transformation experts that could take on large, difficult projects and find solutions that do the job. I’ve always enjoyed getting my teeth into multi-phase, multi-divisional projects and that’s exactly the sort of projects that Albany Beck are known for.
Could you tell us about the complex migration project you’re putting this into action on?
We’re currently working with a large multi-national banking client to develop a single global operating model. This has involved building, testing and deploying solutions using both new technology and revamping existing technology.
Our work has given the client the capability to carry out ‘follow-the-sun’ trading much more effectively, because everybody has access to common processing and common ways of working. We’re also bringing a lot of new instruments to their platform which boosts the tools at the fingertips of their clients.
What specific challenges did you have to overcome?
They have a multitude of different clients, from one person in a broom cupboard to huge corporations. We’ve created a system that works for all of them and reduces the overnight batch processing of reports that needs to be done.
We did this by creating a common set of interfaces for everyone, with a single point of contact and a standard set of reports all their customers can control. That gives them the power to manage and produce their own reports rather than the bank needlessly creating 1000s each day.
Technology evolves very quickly, how has this impacted the role of change specialists?
Well, it’s less about delivering the physical tech and much more about delivering and executing solutions. So a large part of my working life used to involve going out and buying mainframe machines, printers and Blackberries and carrying out hundreds of network upgrades. Everything it takes to build a data centre.
Now it’s about implementing Cloud or SaaS solutions to create more effective workforces, while safely and seamlessly moving sensitive data and having an audit trail to prove compliance.
And what makes a good migration team today?
Versatility and tenacity. You’re always going to turn over a stone and find creepy crawlies, so you’ve got to be versatile to respond to what you discover and come up with an answer. Tenacity then comes in because you’ve got to chase things down to make those solutions happen. But in a nice way, of course. On top of our expertise, we really value and encourage these qualities.
What else sets your team apart?
We’ve got a really great blend of experience both in terms of the number of years in the sector and the fact we come from different parts of it. We have people who’ve worked for investment banks, or with asset managers, and others who come from third-party suppliers, so we know how each side works and the challenges they face.
One more thing that really differentiates us from the competition is the direct contact we have with clients. We’re on the phone with them every day, engaging not just with them but also their third parties across the globe, training them to work with our client and their systems.
And lastly, how would you describe the Albany Beck migration team in one sentence?
Technical experts who have the human skills to drive positive change that really sticks.
It’s an exciting time for financial services firms such as yours, with rapidly evolving technology and growing customer expectations. We can help you navigate the migration challenges this presents, avoiding delays and ballooning budgets, and bringing a real competitive advantage to your bank.
If you’d like to find out more about our team’s first-hand experience or get Ian’s insights into what you need to do to set your IT migration up for success, please get in touch and we look forward to speaking to you.