Risk Management

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Kathy Burger
Kathy Burger
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The Execution Challenge

It's one thing for banks to encourage innovation and transformation, and it's quite another to execute successfully on these strategies.

As the banking industry debates an array of very compelling and hot topics -- including digital, innovation, omnichannel, agility, and collaboration -- there seems to be less discussion of another word that maybe lacks the same cool factor but is essential to realizing the potential of the other concepts: execution. It's the classic "talk the talk, walk the walk" challenge. Of course, it's critical for a company's leaders to identify and commit to a growth-driving strategy, whether it's a big data initiative, expanding mobile offerings, or replacing a legacy system. Making an effective business case for the necessary investments to support these kinds of initiatives is important, too, as is communicating and educating internally about the value of the effort.

But how many high-priority, high-visibility projects fizzle out or fail due to poor or even just OK execution? How many times does something look great on paper (or a tablet), with widespread buyin and market support, but it just doesn't happen? Execution is the hard process of making something work, and all the vision and passion in the world won't matter if a team can't deliver meaningful results.

I doubt any IT or business leader needs to be persuaded on this. I've recently had my own refresher course on the importance of execution, having been part of the launch of the completely new Bank Systems & Technology website and online community. I had the opportunity to work closely with colleagues in IT and development, and I came away from the successful initiative with a renewed appreciation for all the details, nitty-gritty, and process that go into a project like this. It involved not only technical expertise but also leadership, communication ability, patience, flexibility, and enthusiasm.

Read more on Bank Systems & Technology...

Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio
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plashmet
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plashmet,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/7/2014 | 12:56:35 PM
Business and Tech Leadership Collaboration
I have found that if you don't have a fully engaged business partner with a vested interest in the project, technology leadership can only go so far.  In large organizations, the stakeholders often move from one roll to another, consistency is lost and program communication becomes more complex.  Poor execution is just the result.
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
8/7/2014 | 1:04:54 PM
Re: Business and Tech Leadership Collaboration
I agree -- that is a very good point. Without that kind of business focus, IT can't be more than an order taker, which at best is not maximizing the execution potential. Kind of the difference between  a "top chef" and a cashier at McDonalds. Thanks for your feedback.
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