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The Devil Is In The Detail

Wednesday 31 August, 2022

Understanding The Problem

Understanding the markets in which we operate is incredibly important in helping our clients identify the exact problems they are trying to fix. Often, when financial services providers undertake ‘once in a lifetime’ major strategic IT change, they find they not only have the issues around the logistics of change but also cultural ones around the abilities in the business to identify the problems, select the right fixes and then deliver the commercial arrangements to underpin a successful transition of this kind. That’s where we come in.

Growing From Branch To Digital

Our client was a retail bank with offices in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh offering a comprehensive set of current account, savings and mortgage products. The bank had built its business on a combination of business owners and High-Net-Worth individuals alongside a loyal retail customers with a focus on a face-to-face customer experience through its branch network.

The bank had recently been acquired with new investors and a disruptive change agenda. They could see that a branch-based strategy, conventional products and time-consuming back-office processes would not deliver the rapid growth the business needed. A shift in mindset from ‘traditional heritage’ to challenger bank was needed, as was an overhaul to the bank’s products and operations. A new demography of customers, was already demanding integrated digital services and growth through market leading on-line services which would allow the bank to leapfrog its competition. This transformation agenda meant that they had to modernise the core banking platform and IT services model for this change and rapid growth, in addition to addressing the legacy technology underpinning the current operations. While the legacy technology and infrastructure was an impediment to progress, culturally, too, the bank had struggled to jettison the entrenched ways of working that often accompanies embedded systems and processes.

Preparing To Transform

The new parent company and senior management scanned the market for a potential systems integrator / digital partner with whom they could form a strategic relationship. The scope of services would span design and build of a new suite of best in class integrated banking apps and the IT operations for all aspects of the physical and digital bank. There was also the potential for transactional business processes to be included to provide enhanced service and scalability. A newly appointed Transformation Director was given the task of delivering the technology, process and ultimately people change that would come. They recognised the need for external expertise to help negotiate what would be the biggest change programme in the bank’s history.

Coeus Engagement 

Coeus was engaged as an embedded part of the core team working in strictest confidence.
Due to the sensitive nature of the project, there was limited involvement from the business, resulting in knowledge gaps with respect to existing services and processes.

Our Approach

Coeus developed a plan to define the solution / service requirements and develop integrated contracts ensuring the document review process and project timelines were adhered to.

In addition to customising our reference contract templates, a number of schedules were developed from the ground up to define nascent banking line of business services within the scope.

We tackled the challenge of uncertain requirements by drawing upon our experience and expertise in other Financial Services contexts to bridge gaps in client specific insight.

Coeus developed an effective negotiation strategy including clause by clause negotiation guidance and issue tracking. We went on to support the face-to-face negotiations with the bank’s Digital partner.

We also developed and ran a supplier evaluation process to support the executive preference to move rapidly to preferred supplier stage whilst creating a rigorous audit trail for the recommendations reached.

Key Deliverables

- Rapid and cost-effective development of high-quality contractual documents that will protect the bank and satisfy regulatory requirements whilst minimising effort from the bank’s external lawyers

- Structured approach to Digital partner selection including down-select - tool development based on Coeus standards, evaluator training and workshop facilitation with senior stakeholders

- Benchmark of proposed preferred supplier rate card pricing across UK, nearshore, offshore and niche Digital resources

- Negotiation strategy development and support in negotiation sessions.

Benefits

A cost effective, but comprehensive and robust, contractual agreement set that:

- instilled accountability for quality and timing of solutions to be delivered,
- introduced sector standard metrics and targets with effective remedies, and
- provided commercial flexibility and transparency to support the growth agenda

Optimised outcomes through effective planning, tracking and direct support during negotiation with the preferred partner.

Access to the wider Coeus team and knowledge insights including how to contract for milestone deliveries in a project delivered on Agile principles and achieving service accountability across both IT and banking processes within scope. 

View Coeus' Mortgage & Savings Providers homepage here.                   

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