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Providian Trust: Tradition and Technology Essay

Business Context/Key Business Drivers

* Providian Trust was headquartered in New York. In 1994 it was the 10th largest provider of financial and fiduciary services through its network of 216 branches. * The company has 3 divisions, Pension and Institutional Trust Services, Personal Trust and Trust Operations * The company’s lending products—including residential and commercial mortgages and consumer and corporate loans. * The Company slowly slipped away from profitability and competition due to the lack of efficient business processes and information technology.

* Michael LeBlanc the Senior VP of Trust, Investment and Treasury took the initiative to handle the project and address the problems faced by Providian Trust. Le Blanc was required to not just implement the new technology but also improving Providian Trust’s business processes by implementing Access Plus, a major software system developed by Select One. * With a budgeted cost of $18 million and lead-time of 20 months the board finally approved the project in April 1994. * The Key Drivers behind this new initiative was intense client demand on the part of PITS division. Low operational efficiency outdated reporting systems, lack of control and discipline in the trust division only made the case stronger.

Initiative Objectives/Benefits

* Increase Control and Discipline- * PITS and Personal Trust Employees (front office) and Trust Operations Employees (back office) constantly blamed each other in case of any fault. The New centralized system is supposed to increase accountability, improve transparency and force discipline across divisions. * As mentioned in the case the clients had to wait for 2 to 3 months to get a statement. To decrease the cycle time and improve operational efficiency was a major objective. * Sometimes due to inaccurate or late statements Providian had to waive or discount fees, which some times cost the company between $2 – $5 Million. * The total expected saving by implementing these changes was supposed to be inline with $9.2 million every year.

Initiative challenges

* Most of Providian trust officers had 20-30 years of experience in managing client relationships at a personal level and had never used or touched a personal computer. The old school employees were extremely reluctant and resistant to change. The implementation of these changes required employees to become more sales and service oriented instead just answering and responding to client phone calls. * Internal Auditor Peter Storey was a strong critique of the whole process. * Todd Benari, the vice president of Trust Operations, headed the project management team of 15 representatives formed Le Blanc. Le Blanc had no project management experience himself so he relied heavily on his very inexperienced project management.

Results

I believe even though the reasoning behind the project is very strong and praiseworthy, and my understanding of the case, I am skeptical about the possible success of the initiative. * Lack of proper leadership because of LeBlanc inexperience in project management and Le Blanc seems to be the only person driving the project. A major reason I observed was resistance of staff to changes. The Human Resources poor management and awful timing did not help the cause. The decision to reduce the full time staff by 25% or 180 employees further sent a wrong signal and the resistance to change was employee’s way of expressing concern and emotions.

* Lack of proper time and quality management has created unexpected roadblocks and hurdles. The Simulations Work Environment (SWE) testing was originally planned to check the effectiveness of the new tool. The unrealistic initial deadlines, SWE testing never got introduced and LeBlanc was not feeling comfortable enough. His concerns were validated since the main users where mostly technologically handicapped. Due to lack of sufficient testing it is next to impossible to understand the potential problem that they may face in the future after implementation and also to know what kind of training is required by the employees to accept and adopt the change. LeBlanc Admits to being bull headed and does not listen or take into considerations and ignored concerns of PITS and Personal Trust officers.

Relevance and analysis

Relevance –

* I would like to summarize the points discussed and mentioned above- * Clear Channels of Communication, communicate the changes (via the CEO) to all employees, then identify and address the reasons for resistance. * Get employees involved in the reengineering process and participate in the process and explain the need to do so? * Have realistic and achievable timelines – Compile a detailed project plan. Divide the project into small milestones and set realistic deadlines against each milestone. Keep track of actual progress vs. planned progress on a regular basis. Implement strict internal and external audit process to ensure quality is not compromised for the sake of meeting deadlines.

Learning’s-

We face organizational changes in real-life. Some of these changes can be very drastic. We as managers may have an IT background or may not have an IT background. The success of the project does not always depend on our knowledge of the change, in our case the IT infrastructure update it depends on a managers project management skills. There ability to track and maintain time, cost, human resource management and communication skills. .


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