Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
Pig in a Poke

Thursday, January 15, 2004  

"There are known unknowns..."
-- Donald Rumsfeld

We are currently performing Phase II, the inventory of investments' applications. To do this, I've been conducting interviews with the operations manager. I realize that taking anyone at face value is foolish, as we all have agendas. But walking into this meeting, I knew that my company had some perceptions about the investments group before the merger:

1. They were high-tech with sophisticated investment software.
2. Their operations group was full of IT-savvy people.
3. We were all on the same page.

After I left the three-hour meeting, my opinions had changed:

1. They may have the best software they could get for their market, but the technology was a little scary (flat-file).
2. The ops group had some MS Access databases gluing the aforementioned "high-tech" programs together. They were otherwise not IT-savvy.
3. Management has made no concrete steps to identify "value drivers" and communicate those to the investments group.

I had a discussion with our CEO two days ago and related my experience with him. I don't think I've seen those eyebrows shoot up quite that high before. I need to meet with my boss today to figure out if senior management made any decisions at their weekly meeting yesterday. Then I have an analysis I promised to write up about what we should do.

My recommendations at this point revolve around what I think are the salient issues -- we need to fix their core processing because it supports our clients and we need to suspend any other work that distracts from that task. I could easily spend the next six months of my department's time fixing those "glue" programs and the manual reconciliation that goes with it.

I'm glad we didn't pay any money to take this group over.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 1/15/2004 10:56:00 AM

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