Updated: Aug 23, 2020
The Journey that started 3 decades ago, and resulted in the OvalPrime initiative
“Nothing in the world can be more exciting than to create something and see it work" – Paloma Picasso
More than 3 decades in banking is not a long period and I can say that with confidence since I am the 3rd generation in family of bankers where many retired from the same bank they joined after completing their full service.
My tenure with the bank has been far more eventful, largely due to the emergence of technology and the transition phase that we experienced.
Real, eventful & fulfilling journey though commenced in later part of 2004 when my employer, in my second stint, gave us the mandate to create Business Process Re-engineering Group (BPRG), what was later christened as Business Technology Group (BTG) in the bank.
Evolve as we grow
Started initially as a support team, our unit started to attract young minds and domain enthusiasts keen to free themselves from the clutches of traditional structure governing IT and support services. BTG soon became a pool of techno-functional champions with experience ranging from being a vendor, operation resources and even someone fresh creative souls from tech world wanting to build applications independently.
Focusing on Wholesale Banking area of the bank, we quickly realized the need to create verticals that aligned with Business and Operation Lines.
Treasury, Trade, Clearing, Core Banking & Stock Exchange, and Cash Management & Payments were 5 important Product teams that got formed and were soon headed by champions in these areas. Crucial support desk became the 6th vertical and was soon joined by 7th, for an in-house automation team.
Automation team created a formidable value proposition for the organization and attained maturity in processes and controls through CMMI level 3 certification.
Gentle sounding yet high decibel, Support Vertical soon became an important, enterprise wide, critical unit which also managed governance off-shoots like User Access Management (UAM), Access Control related automation, Audit Reports, User Hardware and Software needs, besides being the GO-TO guys for anyone using system and needing support.
Focus on problem, customer problem, both internal & external
The unit itself was a brain child of our Group Head, who then headed the Wholesale Banking Operations and CMS products, both saw an unprecedented growth and scale under his watchful eyes and enormous mentoring & nurturing. BPRG was created primarily to execute the projects coming from his office, to aid Business, Operations and other verticals in the bank.
With a management mandate, we achieved a scale, often unbelievable, and were able to create a structure that could engage with a customer seamlessly. BPRG (later called BTG) became the buzzword for solutions. The unit became a viable destination for Consultants & Analysts, both for learning and successful careers.
While we dealt with problems, their resolution and new automation needs, we were soon working as a Consultant to the organization, taking onus of Solutions, Projects, Governance, Cost, Efficiency, Control, New Business Enablement and so on….
The Blog is our account of sustained learning over 2 decades of running the unit for our organization.
Solutioning is also Consulting and Consulting is all about listening & addressing issues
While providing solutions is intrinsic to BPRG or BTG Unit (banks call it with different names though), understanding the problem of customer and knowing how to resolve is very much the starting point.
The process often requires spending time with user and analyzing the root cause of problem, document it if needed, and provide a solution. Answer may lie in process improvement, bug fixes, system enhancement and even introducing a new solution altogether. Solution may often be the retraining need.
To summarize, Consulting and Solutioning is conjoined activity, while there may be two different units that may do the job, but one working in isolation is often a path to failed initiative.
I will discuss the ideal IT structure of an organization to drive maximum benefits, in a separate blog
Consulting has scale & complexity too
While consulting is a generic term, role of Consultant (with strong characteristics of an Analyst), especially while working for own organization is often a multi-role job. And project or assignment may require him (or with other members of the unit) to manage the solution at end to end basis.
Talking of complexity, some of the assignments may be long, stretching beyond a year or two, such as Core Banking System migration, roll out of Treasury solution or even upgrade of an existing critical application, say Cash Management Solution upgrade.
Complex, multi-dimensional projects or assignments require working with resources from various teams, multiple internal and external partners and meeting expectation of more than single stakeholders. Such kind of projects are Enterprise Assignments and require a robust structure in place, besides a management mandate to execute it. Not to forget the large funding that goes with it.
What is measured, gets done
Consulting, often a task to find a solution to a known problem requires careful understanding of the problem and documenting it, is a just the starting point. It’s important that the problem is captured correctly. The solution, be it a new process, or some improvement, new solution, new module or anything that addresses the issue, should be implemented in time bound manner. The project continuum should be known to all and must be monitored for timely closure of the project or assignment.
Once completed, it is important to review the assignment to verify if the objectives set at the start of the project / assignment have been met and to what extent. If there is a need to monitor the post implementation progress, a mechanism to that too should be put in place.
Big projects of substantial criticality and cost, should ideally be run with an independent Project Management Office, who has the authority and responsibility to report on progress.
A PMO can be an internal or external entity.
Consulting is continuous learning
Knowledge in a fast changing world is like flowing water, nothing is static.
It is not very long ago that Core Banking System (CBS) was a buzz word. While anyone talking about a need for a CBS now would be frowned at, but it is also an irrefutable fact that the technological changes that have taken place in short period of time have been more than overwhelming. It is thanks to changing tech driven opportunities that bank have to constantly invest in technology to stay competitive.
The introduction of new systems, driven by new technology and inbuilt intelligence often provide greater efficiency while posing challenges of new learning. Digitalization of product, services and operations is one such area where participants need to continuously upgrade themselves to make best use of opportunities, besides to stay relevant.
Continuous learning often needs a Consultant to understand the change happening at Business, Operations, Governance, Regulation, Technology and User Expectation that together defines the ever-changing dynamics.
The challenge of fast changing landscape and adapting to it makes role of a Consultant or Analyst a crucial one. While consumer, both internal and external, is busy with the solutions or technology already deployed, changes happening outside the captive ecosystem have to be brought-in. And this requires Consultant to stay a step ahead in the game.
OvalPrime Consulting – A place for Consulting Minds
Equipped with substantial & rich experience in our individual area of expertise and a successful & fulfilling stint with the organization, many of us decided to move on.
Objective was to use our experience and learning in different avatar. An entrepreneurship, Sales (something many of us itched to purse that as a career), Pure Tech Roles, Similar roles in other organization or to pursue other opportunities that find our experience relevant and offer opportunities to grow, independently.
Seniors with Treasury, Retail Banking, Government Business, Payments, Stock Exchanges and all other spaces of Wholesale Banking having strong flair for Consultancy decided to come together; and that’s how OvalPrime Consulting came into existence.
What do we offer
Refraining from using the cliché statements to define who we are, it is perhaps important to write about the team, explaining what value do we bring to the table.
OvalPrime team consists of highly experienced Consultants that possess the requisite knowledge of almost all facets of Banking. The senior leadership has to its credit over 75 years of relevant experience in one of the top banks in the world.
The consultants have held senior positions in their career and have been part of path defining journey of the organization, playing a crucial role.
With an eye for details and enormous experience on managing projects, even the large enterprise programs, the team at OvalPrime can help organizations in their pursuit for excellence. This may include following and more;
· Documenting process
· Process study
· Process improvement
· Process implementation
· System evaluation
· Vendor selection
· System enhancements
· New application or system rollout
· System migration
· Control review
· Project implementation
· On site resources
· Management consulting for IT org structure
Banking areas that we cover
Core Banking, Cash Management Services, eCMS, Clearing Automation, Domestic and Overseas Payments, Trade Finance Solutions, Bullion & Stock Exchanges, Treasury, Government Business, Retail Assets & Liability Automation, Mobile Banking, Corporate Net Banking, imaging & more.
Our Consultants have independently run critical Enterprise Projects and Initiatives for their organization to add enormous value to their business. Some of the projects that we implemented are industry benchmark, including for the solution providers.
Engage OvalPrime Consulting and let us help you grow !