Depending on your local bank/public holidays, there are just 45 business days to "SEPA Day"..!
I can't help wondering just how "SEPA-ready" banks and corporates really are with effectively just 9 weeks to "LIVE" date to go..?
SEPA may not be as big a deal as the Euro and Y2K in terms of the consequences of not being ready, but it probably rates above Basel II, IFRS and most recently MiFID (where compliance to elements of each is largely negotiable with auditors).
Financial services and IT are inextricably linked - or, at least, the former can nolonger exist without the latter. Financial services organisations have had, and will continue to have a steady stream of major implementation deadlines dictated by either
regulatory, business or other external factors.
Having spent roughly half of my career (just to make myself feel old - spanning over 20 years) working equally each side of the fence, I remain so frustrated by the incongruity of expectation when it comes to these kinds of projects.
The fist half of my career, in financial services organisations, I frequently worked on solution selection teams. The second half, in vendors, selling to those I used to represent. Whatever the size or impact of the IT project, my experience was, and remains,
that the vast majority of these firms continue to fall foul of an almost "schoolboy" error.
How often do we see these companies identify a new IT requirement and a deadline only to spend more than 50%, and often nearer 80%, of the time from inception to deadline selecting the solution, thus leaving themselves with high-pressure implementations
(both for themselves and the vendor) to deliver in 20% of the time originally available?
Nothing changes... I know of major financial institutions that have spent years (and some that still are!) humming and harring over which solution(s) to select to meet their long-term SEPA ambitions (compliance and revenue generation).
When I discuss buying criteria with them, frequently one of the key risks they are looking to mitigate is that of implementation failure (or overrun). But what they really need to do is solve this particular 80:20 problem...
I would suggest that, within reason, selecting any of the recognised top 3 or 4 referencable vendors in a chosen space would provide a workable basis upon which to implement a solution.
And, if an organisation was to use just 20% of the time, from identification of need to deadline, selecting the solution and give themselves the remaining 80% to achieve an on-time, on-budget implementation, then we would have both happier business sponsors
Anyway, for those of you out there that are still out shopping for SEPA solutions, I hope Santa brings you what you wish for... :-)