There has been lots in the press recently about re-platforming and the associated challenges surrounding data migration.
Whilst data migration is undoubtedly a challenge, even the initial implementation of a platform, without migration complexities, takes at least twice as long as it should.
So why are implementations so difficult?
There are three major factors that drive complexity and elongate delivery cycles:
- Starting from the wrong place and attempting to implement an investment platform rather than deliver business value as a series of incremental releases.
- Expecting too much from platform vendors. They are not solution architects, systems integrators or transformation specialists.
- Misunderstanding the scale of the task and the required delivery approach to get to market quickly.
The mindset the drives point 1 is one of technology refresh where the platform is replacement for an existing system. Left unchecked this leads to new system constrained by old ways of working and massive customisation to preserve legacy technology and business interfaces, MI, reporting etc. When this mindset is prevalent incremental delivery of business value is almost impossible. It’s a bit like having a heart transplant in an ageing and failing body but with far greater recuperation time and ongoing rejection therapy.
Point 2 is reinforced during the platform procurement process with the notion of “out of the box” implementation being seductively bandied around by both buyer and seller and it places the platform supplier in a position way beyond their skillsets. Platform vendors understand their technology stack and how to implement and make changes in the most efficient way. They know very little about the client’s proposition or the surrounding solution architecture and IT support and business operational model.
Point 3 is an inevitable consequence of points 1 and 2. So what’s the answer. The obvious place to start is the proposition and development of a business and technology roadmap that delivers measurable value – incrementally – in the least amount of time. The profile of organisations that succeed have a core a belief that small empowered teams outperform large teams and the delivery agility of real business value trumps the “bells and whistles” of complete solution coverage.
Agility also creates an opportunity for platform providers to re-evaluate their approach to implementation to compress delivery lifecycles by:
- Fully onboarding new clients and educating them not only in the basics of the platform functionality but the optimum deployment approach to exploit configuration opportunities rather than build wherever possible.
- Developing patterns and templates for customer journeys, documentation, workflows, MI and reporting than can be refined rather than developed by the client from scratch.
- Having a target operation model that can act as the foundation for implementing the processes, controls and support functions required to enable the platform operation.
Given this approach it’s possible to design implementation programmes that go from a standing start to the initial value release of circa 30 weeks. However, this will require a change in mindset and a big jump in capabilities from clients and platform providers alike.
If you’re interested in learning about how we achieve these results for our customers, or you’d like an exploratory consultation about your own business then do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.