I have a friend who has spend most of his life getting the latest technology. He is always rushing around downloading the latest drivers, getting the newest hardware and always raving about the latest standard and device that will make his life better. The
problem is that technology has become his life! The time he saves and the convenience he has is simply dedicated to more technology not more living. Even worse technology is the only thing he knows.
I see this with a lot of banks and corporations when it comes to SWIFT connectivity. There is such a focus on the technology, the process, and standards that there is little thought about the business objectives behind the undertaking. While this froth
of activity is great for widget salespeople there is still a lot of scepticism on the business side. I think this is why I still see many projects demanding fairly basic ROI calculations. Technology must be justified in cost savings which will generally
mean more technology.
If instead we see the problem from the business point of view and look at what connectivity means in aiding the conduct of business then we start to get somewhere. Why do I want to connect? Basically I have a problem. I need to communicate. I need information
faster. I need to make better decisions. While technology is part of the answer it is not the be all and end all.
So if we set out to solve the business problem and then logically derive the required process changes and technology required I think we’d all be in a much better position to know when the problem has been solved than simply getting more and more technology.
Let’s take an example. A bank or corporation need to know their currency position to decide on investments and funding requirements. The problem is that they can only get estimates. These estimates are not accurate for a number of reasons. If we set
out to make these estimates more accurate where do we get in identifying the process and technology impacts?
1) I need transaction and balance information faster
2) I need more accurate and faster matching and reconciliation
3) I need less human intervention in handling errors and exceptions
So, what is the barrier to getting information faster? As a corporation I might have a few different bank terminals to integrate with my systems. To reconcile I might need to convert formats. To handle errors I need a better process.
Connectivity is just a piece of the solution and not the be all and end all. If we start to view it in this way there are beneficial results. I can always gauge when the project is successful – do I know my position any better than before? By how much?
So, while my new iPhone can show me the way to the nearest Starbucks so I can get my caffeine fix and listen to the latest iTunes track it does not solve a real problem. What shall I have once I get their? A Double Mocha Macchiato, a Caffe Americano or
just a plan old latte?