The enduring challenge for all front office system implementations is perception: do the investment managers and directors perceive the system to be an administrative burden or provide a business benefit to them and a competitive advantage for the firm. In this instance many of the participants had lived through previous CRM implementations and seen them fail to achieve critical mass and the data rapidly degrade. This challenge is amplified by two further characteristics of this environment, firstly the priority of activities is set by their urgency and important business process activities often get deferred. Secondly, there is an enormous intolerance to processes that do not match ‘the way we do things around here’; this can be an immediate hurdle for standard packages. WhiteSky had the answer; a Cloud platform with the agility to rapidly meet the requirements with the flexibility to reflect revisions and new functionality.
The implementation approach was carefully planned with the business sponsor who led the implementation throughout the project. The guiding design principles were:
- to replicate and streamline the existing business processes,
- to be responsive to small design requests,
- to ensure take-on data was thoroughly cleaned, and the ‘pump was primed’ by setting up ‘live’ process data,
- to implement in stages designed to provide quick wins and operational value,
- to ensure management information was available at each stage (rather than at the end of project as a late deliverable).
These steps were made possible with WhiteSky which was iteratively configured directly with the users with a ‘less is more’ objective. WhiteSky provided the ability to adapt to change requests, quickly and efficiently. As users learnt more about the ease of configuring that WhiteSky offers, they were able to realise further areas that could be automated.
- Timely management information reduced the dependence on word of mouth information.
- Improved visibility of team activities improved efficiency and timeliness.
- Hidden inefficiencies were reduced, as low value clerical tasks became unnecessary.
- The scalability of the process was enhanced as new employees could quickly adopt the business process and access management information.