Providian Trust Case Study Analysis For Education

Business Context and Problem Analysis:Interim CEO Stephen Walsh is confronted with an outdated information system for Providian’s trust division causing undue advantage to more technologically advanced competitors. Veteran Trust Officers spend a lot of time correcting statements, costing the company around $2 million to $5 million on discounts and waived fees because of discrepancies in financial statements.

a new trust and custody management software, but is facing firm resistance from several groups (Personal Trust, PITS divisions and New England Regional offices), most especially from Internal Auditor, Peter Storey which were mostly ignored by the CEO and the Board.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">b)Walsh arrived on the scene with 2/3 of $18 million project already spent. He is therefore faced with a lot of pressure to continue on the course of action and approve the roll-out. This is a clear manifestation of the &#8220;DEAF EFFECT&#8221; despite clear warnings from whistleblowers / experts. Politics has also complicated the situation with 1) the question on Storey&#8217;s credibility, and 2) Benari managing the project, thus wanting to put his Trust Operations in the &#8220;spotlight&#8221;.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">SOME CONCERNS RAISED AGAINST THE PROJECT, HOW THEY WERE REJECTED (and some examples of their corresponding misgivings based on the BSC for Projects article):a)Removing control from Trust Officers (to back-end Trust Operations -interestingly under Benari&#8217;s group) will endanger client needs/wants and result to a non-client-oriented process.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">•CUSTOMER AND INTERNAL PERSPECTIVE and Phase 2 (Planning) Failure &#8211; Providian ignores the possible effect on customer value and intimacy by being more concerned with serving the project team and internal politics. The project may deliver &#8220;Reliability, Responsiveness and Assurance&#8221; but totally miss out on &#8220;Empathy&#8221; by replacing software with personal interaction provided by experienced Trust Officers. There is also strong resistance and inherent challenges for the senior staff to learn the technology. Additionally, the timing of retrenchments and its potential consequences was not considered in the announcement schedule thereby affecting productivity and project timelines.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">b)The need for a detailed plan to set project goals to measure against existing benchmarks and perform &#8220;health checks&#8221; throughout the project life cycle.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">•Phase 1 and 3 Failure (Initiation and Execution) &#8211; who, what, where and when weren&#8217;t clearly communicated; thus a &#8220;disconnect&#8221; between the firm&#8217;s vision and planned project outcomes. This failure to plan the project accordingly will then make it impossible to execute, monitor and control changes or identify root causes of poor performance.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">c)Too many directors; up to 20 executives with no clear accountability of an overall project owner. Even the assigned Project Manager, Todd Benari, in the end, thought he was merely 1 out of the 20 project owners and wasn&#8217;t sure about his accountability in the project. Again, another Phase 2 (Planning) and Internal Perspective failure.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Relevance and Recommendations:With the method of managing the project, deploying &#8220;Access Plus&#8221; exposes Providian to a full range of risks, from internal conflicts to technological mishaps and ultimately negative customer experience which may lead to greater revenue losses for the company (with the problem coming full circle, thereby further compounding internal issues). As seen above, Bernari&#8217;s project execution shows his apparent disregard to the Business Change Diamond specifically on: 1) Employee competence and trainability of veteran Trust Officers as well as &#8220;introverted&#8221; tendencies of Tech/Operations staff &#8211; thus the challenge of handling front-office client interactions 2) the inherent culture of trust required in financial and fiduciary services and 3) the lack of analysis on management systems/processes to support the change.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Although it may seem too late, some recommendations are still in order:1.Apply staggered deployment in a controlled environment; postpone Pension Trust. &#8211; Personal Trust has already been converted but extend the SWE to 6 months to draw out possible problems (start at 20% then slowly moving to 100% in 6 months). Since pension trust comprises majority of the business, delay deployment until Personal trust is 100% error free. During conversion, maintain old manual process as backup in case something goes terribly wrong.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">2.Replace Project Manger and apply BSC methodologies of Initiation, Planning, Execution (monitor and control) and Closing to remaining portion of project.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">3.Extensive IT and mindset training to develop veteran Trust Officers (Client Relationship Managers) AND to recruit young, technology-savvy to the team.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Footnotes:The Deaf Effect happens when a decision-maker doesn&#8217;t hear, ignores or overrules a whistleblower to continue a failing course of action (Keil and Robey, 2000). Whistleblower effectiveness is determined by credibility and role prescription (Miceli and Near &#8211; 1992,1995,2002).</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Sources:Wendy Stewart PMP, Balanced Scorecard for Projects (2001).</p>

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