Banking IT leaders need to think “Lean”.
For nearly a decade, banking IT has been trying to transform from a back-office implementor to a business enabler. With banks almost always in crisis in the last five years, budget restrictions and a strict cost-control regime are the order of the day. So
is IT just going to keep the “lights on”?
If IT leaders wants to rock in these times, they got to go one step further- instead of projects and initiatives that promise innovation or transformation at big budgets over a longer period of time, they need to think start thinking "lean" too.
This means, much like the concepts in Eric Ries'
book, IT leaders need to put themselves in the shoes of their business and figure out
which IT investments will help grow revenues or deliver cost savings that will
justify expenses in the short term!
For every key IT initiative, banks need to make two types of assumptions essential for the success of the "venture"-
value hypothesis and growth hypothesis.
- The value hypothesis refers to what the clients (either the bank's internal users or customers) will find valuable and want to pay for versus what they find useless and hence a "waste".
- The growth hypothesis in this context translates to how the IT project proposal will be taken to and sold to the clients.
Eric stresses the need for startups to test these hypotheses as quickly as possible using a
Minimum Viable Product- which in this context can be taken as a "pilot" or proof of concept.
Taking the lean and start-up thinking further, what we arrive at are basically
self-funding models, or projects that can generate savings enough to fund the next stages.
On the other hand, the pilot or first phase can reveal shortcomings or learnings. The
build-measure-learn loop amounts to using past experience and current results to decide whether the project goes forward and, if needed, a
pivot to decide in what form.