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About Your Profit and Loss Platform: Understanding Why

Dear Bank IT Manager,

It has been a long absence since I wrote down my latest post in March. Well, I have no excuse, at least none that can be made public. During this time several people have contacted me, asking after my silence. I have to admit, though, that some people only wanted to know how my vegetable garden was progressing, they were not so interested in my P&L Platform thoughts! Uhmmm… well let me try to make everybody happy.

It has been the best Summer for my vegetable garden: tomatoes, lettuces, green beans, onions, zucchini, aubergines, peppers, sunflowers, ... Now I have no doubt: If you want good vegetables come to Catalonia. 

After this unnecessary piece of information, let me remind you that I am following the Six Ws method to rationalize some thoughts that I gathered during all these years involved in P&L applications. Since some of these posts are rather old, let me make a short summary:

  • Who: I highlighted the importance of knowing in advance who the users of our platform will be.
  • What: I wrote about the need to dip into details to understand what P&L means for that specific organisation.
  • Where: I recommended doing a deep analysis on where stakeholders are and processes happen. Despite the new Cloud era, location still matters.
  • When: I stressed the value of knowing in detail when data is required for each department, location, product, etc.

So now it is time for…


The first “Why” might seem obvious but we should take it seriously: Why are we asked to build a new P&L platform? What are the real objectives that drive the bank to spend a considerable amount of money in this? The answer to this question should be holistic: probably user’s objectives will be rather different from IT objectives. We will only succeed if we achieve the key objectives of all stakeholders.

Only as an example, it might happen that the main IT objective is to de-commission existing platforms to reduce complexity and save running costs. So from that perspective we could build an improved replica of the best of breed. But what are users expecting from a new P&L Platform: Faster process, more accuracy, cost saving, a better user experience, smart phones and tablet access? We should ensure that we don’t miss what the final users want; otherwise their frustration will unquestionably turn against us, even if IT is initially happy.

Understanding why will also help to phase the project properly, managing stakeholders’ expectations. It is very unlikely that we can meet all objectives in the first phase, so it is important that we provide in advance a clear mapping between deliverables, expected due dates and objectives that will be achieved. It will also help us to under-prioritise any relevant development that will not be positively perceived by the community.

Hope it helps,

Miquel Febrer, Director, GFT Iberia.


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