Objectway shared a lively and insightful discussion with CEOs of major Wealth Management firms at a recent dinner organised in conjunction with PAM. All the participants agreed that digital change has a critical role to play and many have already been planning or implementing it in order to differentiate their client experience and grow the business in a scalable fashion. However, digital change often comes with risks and uncertainty. Some of the track record of projects in the industry gives cause for concern in terms of delivery times, managing of budgets, and how a firm can really differentiate from competitors by purchasing a standard software solution.
The current state of IT…
There was a clear realisation that the current state of legacy IT architecture is detrimental to scalable growth. But major IT change projects bring potential risk and disruption, not to mention the cost and the uncertainty of the result. A number of CEOs also discussed whether it was better to buy or build, especially if they wanted to integrate a separate ‘function’ to an existing system which was tailored to their needs.
… And the steps towards modernisation
The group also discussed how modern IT architecture allows for modular components to be integrated via open APIs. Simplifying the current architecture can be done by prioritising the change over time in an incremental fashion. The pros and cons to building your own IT were also discussed and overall the consensus was that if you could purchase a standard modular solution and then partner with your IT vendor to tailor around the edges, it may provide the most benefits. This way, the solution would be maintained and upgraded and firms could also rely on economies of scale and expertise from the vendor, whilst looking after the tailored elements.
Examples of success
Any change project involves risk and the group shared their experiences of successful and failed projects. Generally, the projects with the greatest chance of success featured a team of people who coordinated their action plans based on prior agreed goals. These goals may even change over the the project lifetime, but the team was adaptable enough to change their plans accordingly. A critical success factor for this was having clear communication between team members and an open environment where challenges were expected and worked on together. Many IT projects fail due to the simple fact that the relationship between ‘client’ and ‘vendor’ is not seen as a partnership, but more of a transactional relationship. This must change to significantly increase the chance of success.