Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
Are We Making Progress Yet?

Wednesday, June 30, 2004  

I think the most frustrating part of my job is when everyone is working diligently on their tasks and I want to get more accomplished. Without, naturally, hiring more people to do it or working my staff to death.

There is a project we've hired out because we just can't make the deadline -- creating a standalone application for our parent company to handle some 1031 transaction accounting. It's going to be 60 days late. Ugh.

Today's adventures included one hour-long meeting to discuss the alarm vendor relationship and who owns it (three separate departments plus another vendor...too many fingers in the pie) and another hour-long meeting

The new IE vulnerability assures me that we'll have another distraction from actually moving the business forward. I wonder if we'll get hit before we put in some kind of web filtering appliance (maybe Blue Coat?) to stave off this latest security threat. I was hoping we could use Mozilla's Firefox, but it appears to break too many websites used for business purposes, including our payroll system.

Some good news. Over the past six months we have:

1. Successfully integrated our sister investment company.
2. Created the infrastructure for banking to create their own statements.
3. Set up the means to process tax transactions from a sister 1031 exchange division.
4. Updated our backbone switching and routing systems, increasing their capacity by a factor of ten.
5. Set up daily banking reports to use our imaging web presentment solution, including converting archived spool files.
6. Vastly improved the quality control of our imaging processes.
7. Updated an internally-written check reconciliation fraud prevention app.
8. Deployed Blackberry PDA's to select executives.
9. Installed backup lines at our hot site for a banking and trust accounting vendor.
10. Upgraded our storage infrastructure.
11. Upgraded our fax servers.
12. Upgraded our performance review software.
13. Installed a leased line between our Glendale office and the home office at the request of executive management.
14. Created a new report generation and viewing process.
15. Selected the middleware component for future application development.

Too much of this is infrastructure, though. Not enough direct ROI. We have several projects, some overdue, that need to be implemented in the next six months or we'll miss out on potential revenue. Of the twenty initiatives I have left for this year, only seven add to revenue while three involve streamlining operational needs and reducing expenses. Of those seven, if this department can get the Big Five completed (1031 transaction accounting, savings automation, wire service provider conversion, positive pay upgrade and wire initiation via web services) we'll be in a position to increase our company revenues by approximately 15-25% annually. No pressure, though. ;)

posted by Henry Jenkins | 6/30/2004 04:35:00 PM

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