Take Ownership of Your Technology & Improve Your Bottom-Line
ByKen Sebastian, ViTEX
In the perfect world with a perfect technology partner, you would see a proactive initiative on behalf of your technology vendor to help you maximize the ROI on the technology your organization purchased. Unfortunately, in this not always perfect world, you can barely count on the vendor to help implement the solution and train the users to a level sufficient enough for your day-to-day users to become de-facto experts who rarely utilize the solution to its fullest abilities, creating yet another “break point” in your infrastructure. Our experiences indicate that most banks struggle in this effort and only a few really succeed in delivering the return on investment typically promised by the vendor and the myriad of salespeople who all said “yes it can”.
In all fairness to your vendors, they too struggle in developing ways to assist their customers. Our organization is frequently told by these technology vendors that their frustration lies within a customer base that is marginally trained and that over time deteriorates in its knowledge and utilization of their systems. The vendors are concerned with the inability of the banks to ensure that they fully utilize the software and see value in future relations.
Over the years we have developed a number of proven methods to address this challenge and help our clients leverage their technology investments. A good starting point is the assignment of “Application Owners”. We suggest that a bank begin by designating an Application Owner for all major functions such as retail banking, lending, finance, deposits, etc. The number of Application Owners will vary by the size and complexity of your institution. Typically loans and deposits are the two basic areas with the retail network often close behind in priority. As with all important functions and roles, the key is finding the right person with the right skill set to assume the Application Owner responsibilities. You may find that in some cases a your bank will have a shared role or an extension of a current position. In larger banks it can become necessary to create a full-time position to fill the roll of Application Owner.
Some questions you may want to ask at the next board meeting:
While the Application Owner concept is only one tool for improving vendor relations and responsiveness, it is an excellent place to start. Like it or not, as a vendor’s customer you ultimately own the relationship with your vendors. Using a system effectively over time requires constant modifying of procedures to take advantage of new features. Someone needs to drive that process in order for full utilization and full ROI to be expected.