Season 2 | Ep. 18: Implementation to Optimization: Addressing Hidden Factories When Rolling out New Software

Season 2 | Ep. 18: Implementation to Optimization: Addressing Hidden Factories When Rolling out New Software

April 23, 2024

In this episode of the Risk Intel Podcast, we continue the conversation of hidden factories and highlight real-world examples from subject matter experts in risk management, across the banking industry. Today’s guest is Cathy Jackson, Director of Implementations for Watchtower, who brings a unique perspective to the table, having experienced hidden factories both within financial institutions and while assisting in the implementation of enterprise risk management software. Listen in to host Ed Vincent and Cathy Jackson’s conversation or read the summary below to learn more.

Identifying Hidden Factories

Cathy's journey through the realm of hidden factories begins with her time within financial institutions. She points out that there was a common occurrence she witnessed at previous institutions, where the adoption of new systems or technologies seemed to fail to deliver the anticipated efficiencies. Instead, these new systems often get layered onto existing processes, resulting in added complexity without significant improvement.

"It's a combination of 'this is the way I've always done it' and layering on new processes without updating procedures or ensuring follow-through post-conversion."

Her experience working with banks and seeing what can go wrong during the implementation process made for a perfect transition to change careers to now being the one who helps banks implement software.

Even from the other side of the table, she has observed similar challenges arise. For instance, Cathy highlights how some organizations who adopt new software systems tend to have unrealistic expectations of improved processes and workflows. However, these systems may not be fully utilized or integrated into existing practices, leading to underutilization, and missed opportunities for optimization.

In Cathy's experience, the issue often stems from a lack of thorough assessment and planning before implementation starts. Organizations may rush into adopting new technologies without fully understanding their existing processes or considering how the new systems will fit into their workflows. As a result, rather than streamlining operations, these new technologies can inadvertently create hidden factories - inefficiencies that go unnoticed or unaddressed, ultimately hindering organizational productivity and performance.

Challenges of Adoption

A key challenge highlighted by Cathy is the resistance to change and the lack of follow-through post-implementation. Despite the promise of enhanced efficiency, many organizations struggle to fully integrate new systems into their workflows. Procedures remain outdated, and there is a failure to recognize and capitalize on the efficiencies offered by the new systems.

Cathy stresses the importance of follow-up, stating, "The follow-up post-conversion is crucial to showing real-world examples and expectations. We must call out the ways the new system improves processes and ensure that features are intentionally shared where they will make the most impact."

Success Stories

Cathy also shares a success story from her experience, where one bank successfully navigated a system conversion by involving a diverse group of stakeholders early in the process. By garnering buy-in from those directly involved in the day-to-day operations, the bank was able to identify pain points and ensure a smoother transition. This proactive approach, coupled with ongoing communication and training, resulted in a more seamless adoption of the new system.

"Bringing people into the room who understand the current process and showing them how the new system can enhance it - is crucial for a successful adoption."

7 Key Takeaways

In conclusion, Cathy emphasizes the importance of proactive engagement and follow-through in tackling hidden factories. Organizations must involve stakeholders from the outset, address resistance to change, and ensure that new systems are fully integrated into existing workflows. By doing so, they can unlock the true potential of these systems and drive meaningful efficiency gains. Here are the 7 key takeaways to remember when implementing a new enterprise wide software or tool:

1. Proactive Engagement: Involve stakeholders from the outset to identify pain points and ensure buy-in.

2. Clear Communication: Communicate the benefits of new systems and processes to ensure understanding and acceptance.

3. Ongoing Training: Provide continuous training and support to facilitate the adoption of new systems.

4. Follow-Up: Conduct post-implementation follow-up to monitor progress and address any issues that arise.

5. Intentional Feature Sharing: Ensure that new features are shared where they will make the most impact, avoiding missed opportunities for optimization.

6. Update Procedures: Regularly update procedures to reflect changes brought about by new systems, avoiding the perpetuation of outdated processes.

7. Drive Adoption: Emphasize the importance of replacing existing processes with new systems rather than simply adding layers, to realize true efficiency gains.

In closing, remember that addressing hidden factories when implementing a new software or tool requires both upfront investment in stakeholder engagement and ongoing commitment to post-implementation follow-through. By taking these steps, organizations can avoid simply adding layers to existing processes and instead achieve true optimization and efficiency.

Catch up on previous episodes in our Hidden Factory series:

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