Implementing a remediation programme
Critical success factors

As financial institutions move to integrate, automate and streamline their systems (all in the face of a toughening regulatory environment), process flows and the underlying data points are coming under increasing scrutiny. As such, customer and operational remediations continue to be a common occurrence. Despite this many remediation efforts have become a blocker to the successful implementation of wider strategic objectives within financial institutions, often due to inconsistent, missing or unverifiable data points.

While each remediation is bespoke in nature, they have a significantly greater chance of success when a structured approach is followed – ensuring that the challenge is carefully considered, appropriately resourced and carried out with the support of key stakeholders.

Below are ten key considerations ahead of your next remediation programme.

Structure

1. Define the scope & what success means to the business

  • Be clear on what is to be remediated and what defines success at the start. It is far too easy to continually extend the end objective, lose sight of the original purpose and never reach completion.

2. Document and share the remedial process

  • Ensure everyone understands the process, especially the underlying steps, that can be used to report progress throughout. This ensures consistency in the output and can form the basis for reliable communication of project progress.

3. Be realistic with timeframes

  • Ensure everyone understands the process, especially the underlying steps, that can be used to report progress throughout. This ensures consistency in the output and can form the basis for reliable communication of project progress
  • Consider all of the individual tasks, stakeholders and other teams (or even clients) that need to be involved and factor in adequate time for them to complete their activities – this must include time for you to complete steps 1 and 2 above
People

4. Have clear sponsorship

  • If the remediation doesn’t have a vocal business sponsor, is the project a true business priority? Consider revisiting the articulation of what success means to the business – this will be important, especially for larger remediations that can result in change fatigue in the business.

5. Establish a key group of stakeholders

  • Be clear on why they need to be involved and why project success is important to them. Support will often be needed across various functions: Operations, Compliance, Technology, Sales – ensure these groups remain aligned to the remedial effort throughout.

6. Communicate often (and clearly)

  • Keep the message simple, and tailor it for the relevant audience. What matters most to them? Continually communicate the overall objective of the remediation to all stakeholders – and anticipate the need to remind them regularly.

7. Think about the skillsets needed in the project team

  • Consider the roles involved and depending on the size of the remediation, determine the size of team needed. The people needed to ‘do’ the remediation will likely be obvious, but also think about who will manage the data and reporting; who will liaise with the various stakeholders involved and communicate the timelines; and whether a business subject matter expert needs to be embedded in the team.
Data

 8. Focus on the data

  • The vast majority of remediations ultimately involve resolving inconsistent data sets, or data without supporting evidence. Ensure one person is responsible for the overall data set and has the skills (and tools) to manage it. How many remedial items are there? What needs to be done to mark an item as complete? How can progress be demonstrated throughout?

9. Become the expert

  • Take ownership of the problem: Front to back. That way you will truly understand the impact on the business, and become the authority on the topic. This will go a long way in gaining the support and trust of your stakeholders.

10. Build a control as part of the remediation

  • As part of the project, build controls into the new process or data set to ensure the same or a similar problem does not re-occur in the future. Include these controls as part of the project success factors and agree who will own them going forwards. Don’t let all of the hard work go to waste!
Foundations

Remediations are not typically the initiatives financial institutions wish to focus on, however, they make critical corrections and ensure strong foundations are established – foundations upon which institutions can build ambitious and strategic digital change. Consider time invested in executing a successful remediation as a fundamental step in building a more robust, data driven environment (that also minimises the chance of having to revisit the same remediation again in the future).  Remediations can often be tough, but take the opportunity to learn from the past, improve structures and controls, and ensure that going forward, the foundations are in place for future growth.

 

This blog was first published on Finextra on 9th February 2021

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