parascosa Consulting

 

Process Reviews

 

In any modern organisation it is almost invconceivable that processes can take place without some sort of interaction with computer systems. Throughout my career I have been an active participant in both 'communities', as head of Management Information Systems for a bank in the City and working in the business in line management. When I review a process, either with a view to improving efficiency or in order to understand the inherent risks and identify appropriate controls, I focus on the interrelationship between the process and the systems that support it. The converse is, of course, equally true; if I feel that a particular step in the process would benefit from being supported by a system, this will form part of my recommendations.

I always approach such a review by assuming nothing and ensuring, by drilling down to the detail, that I really understand what the process is trying to achieve. Only if you understand what the deliverables are, can you fully appreciate whether or not each step in the process is adding value. Because I adopt a creative, no-holds-barred approach to redesigning processes, my recommendatuions will often contain radical suggestions for improvement.

I am strong believer that recommendations are not made lightly and am always prepared to work with clients to implement the changes that I have suggested.

Below are some examples of how I have assisted clients to improve their business processes:

 

This assignment included the following process reviews and implementations:

  • Coordination of the bank’s response to the FSA’s Factbook initiative, a regime aimed at improving the ability to weather the storm of a systemic financial crisis.

  • Review and documentation of all processes within the Compliance Policy and Regulatory Development department.

  • Creation and implementation of a database to cover many inter-related aspects of regulatory reporting.

  • Creation and implementation of a new approach to the taking and recording of whistleblowing calls within the Group.

Click here to see a testimonial from the Group Director Compliance and Operational Risk.

At this client I carried out, in parallel, two interrelated assignments:

  • Design, creation and implementation of a risk-based Health Check regime for all (both IT-related and business change) projects and programmes across the whole company (HBOS Financial Services). This looks at many ‘components’ of projects, including governance, communications, risk management and adherence to the company’s integrated end-to-end process. The rating of each component is based on a maturity banding with target maturities set for each phase of the project. The company had a track-record of project costs spiralling beyond initial budgetary estimates with little appreciation of the root cause.

  • An overhaul of the company’s approach to estimating projects, introducing a ‘funnel’-based progression with level of confidence based on risk and benefits. The effect was to introduce more rigour into the estimating process and less opportunity for costs to get out of control.

(now part of L+Q Group)

I was asked to conduct a Health-Check of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at Threshold.

Paul Rydquist, Chief Executive of Threshold wrote:-

"Colin Stringer was recommended to us as someone who would take an independent, impartial look at the use of technology within our organisation and identify areas where it is out of alignment with our declared business objectives. He put in a very professional and comprehensive proposal for an Information and Communications Technology Health-Check, which was then delivered within the estimated budget and timetable. Our management team was impressed with the thoroughness of the review and how quickly he came to understand our business processes and the strengths and weaknesses of our existing ICT infrastructure. The report, which he presented to our directors and to our board, presented a very thorough picture of the challenges that we face but also contained appropriate, pragmatic suggestions to resolve some of these, both in the short and longer term.  It was clear to us, from the outset, that Colin is not of the ‘advise and run’ school of consultancy and we subsequently commissioned him to effect some of the changes that he had suggested in his report."

 

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