“Immature Maturity”; the term popped into my head and came out of my mouth as if the concept had been sitting there, unspoken for years. A client was wondering why a project, which by all indications should have been a slam-dunk, had virtually nothing to show for the millions already spent and current estimates showed the cost more than doubling prior to delivery. The client, acting as their own solution integrator, only had the solution vendors to blame. Right? Wrong!
On closer look it became clear to me that the actual bulk of the work, and the reason for all the uncertainty and increasing estimates, is related to foundational elements required to support newer technology, like that of the solution vendor.
In other words the problem is the lack of maturity within the existing legacy systems and landscape and a lack of maturity in the implementation and integration of some newer foundational systems. Although all of the legacy systems are mature age wise, they lack the ability/maturity to integrate easily with newer technology. Although the client has selected and implemented some newer systems and concepts their architects, supporting methodologies, operational and development groups are not mature enough to leverage these investments and integrate them easily with newer solutions and concepts.
The systems and the team have an immature maturity. An immature mature core system landscape coupled with a number of poorly made architectural decisions has painted them in a corner and things that should be of relatively low effort and associated costs have exploded as projects and solutions that should be consuming foundational elements now have to spend time, money, and an enormous amount of effort proving new technical integration concepts, building additional foundational capabilities, to solve a relatively simple business problem.
So the complexities of their landscape are causing problems. Maybe you’re asking what else is new? This is the common problem across the all of the banks I have ever worked with. You’d be right in asking this. The thing that is really bothering me lately in core banking is the lack of maturity at all levels of the organization. The inability of a bank to look at a situation and logically see the path forward and understand how all of the blocks fit together.
Patching together an immature mature core banking landscape may allow the business to pick some low hanging fruit but it will not sustain the organization over the longer term. Eventually the business will have requirements that, due to the immature mature nature of the landscape, will end up costing way more than it’s worth as its scope includes laying foundations that should have been there in the first place.
Integration trumps everything. The easier integration between systems is the better of you will be. Patchwork needs to be solved logically by methodically migrating your core objects onto one integrated platform. The big problem with this is that there normally isn’t a great initial business case for this concept, and the migration can create throwaway work. “Because it’s a great idea and will help us down the road” is not acceptable in the quarter-by-quarter growth driven culture of financial services. It took most large banks 40+ years to develop their immature mature landscape and it takes vision and a few years to transform it. The ability to move fast in financial services requires a mature integrated landscape as well as a mature team. Both take time to mature.