Archive for the 'Strategy management' Category


Organisation of a Financial Advisory Firm

I had been working on 1 year project that to setup a new Financial Advisory (FA) firm locally in Singapore.  There are lots of discussions with the parent Company, setting up the new FA’s organisation structure, the agents’ structure and roles & responsibilities between FA and parent financial institution.

Lots have been working on and today, I like to share the high level target operational model for this FA.  The organisations required are:

  1. Distribution Support (Agency Management, Compensation)
  2. New Business
  3. Client Services
  4. Claims Services
  5. Product Development
  6. Training & Competency
  7. Compliance
  8. Finance Accounting
  9. Human Resources
  10. Risk Management (includes Business Continuity planning)
  11. Technology Services
  12. Shared Services (outsource, if any)

Poor Requirements, Main Factor for Projects’ Failures

It is no doubt that, in any projects poor requirement gathering results around 60% of projects’ failures that constitute to time and cost deviations.  Unnecessary re-works are done and in cases, customers and the vendors are arguing about change requests, the ‘scope creeps’ they have to pay for the additional work and timeline in which most customers do not want to extend the scope but increase the timeline.

With this ever-increasing competitions, it is harder to change the major stakeholders’ minds to extend projects with these limits.  SCRUM agile methodology is a proven way to ensure the initial business requirements are made, and new changes are built in iterative phases.  Business can also control the scope, the cost and timeline for the delivery upon mutual agreements.  In this case, this is a win-win situation for all.


I have moved on to Program management….is it?

First day back to work from vacation, I have received a ‘surprise’ email from our Global Account Manager to understand the new project from our EMEA counterpart.

It sounds strange to me why I have to be involved as we have an EMEA IT team supporting this account over there.  Perhaps we are really lack of a Global IT Head to communicate and align the solutions for this account as every region will work on their own ways and ‘duplicate’ systems around the globe.  This is not the direction that our Global account wants to have, and I do see the need to have a Global IT head to lead all regions on this vision.

Now I have to play this role, ensures all regions are aligned and promote ‘reuseability’ among regions, this is a very huge responsiblitye I need to manage to fulfill the vision.  The first thing I need to do is to gather all the existing applications’ inventory for each country/region to see what are the solutions we had can be reused for other countries or future RFQ enquiries.

Hope I can work this out……


Organisation’s Directions – Where are they?

It has been a 1 year’s anniversary of my employment with this current employer.  Since the day I took up the job position, I had not been involving or work on any of the job scopes that were indicated for this role.  All the while I had been “fire-fighting” production issues, managing on-going projects for others to get things move on.  Non of the things are working on the new initiatives and the directions on how to start off these initiatives as well.

At some points I were wondering what is the role of the regional IT organization and in order to do our parts on the new initiatives and business-IT alignments regionally do we really understand the changes on the cost-effectiveness, cost strategy among individual country IT organization, resource allocation and skills’ upgrade, roles and responsibilities of local country IT organizations, reporting structure, in-house IT support service and policies etc.  It was so embarrassing in one occasion with the business support team that we in the regional team do not know the exact scopes and charging mechanism of the SLA agreement imposed from each local country in which in return is charged back to our business unit for yearly IT support and maintenance’s contract with the Customer.  This is really very disappointing.

With the new goal-settings defined by my Manager for this year’s Key Performance Index (KPI), I do hope I have a clearer picture of the Organisation’s directions and alignments to make myself moving forward to achieve these objectives.  I pray so….


Wrap-up on the commerical asap!!!

Last 3 months we been working on the commerical for a Customer account.  This had been ongoing for months and nothing tangible was addressed throughout the whole process.

Recently I have a conference meeting with the Customer.  Note that I was only involved with providing estimations of the IT project activities and costings.  I did not have any ideas of the discussions my Business Account Manager had with the Customer.  In joining to the call, to my initutions, the customer will like to know the details of the project activities/man-days that been addressed from my Business Account manager.  In the middle of the discussions, it was brought out from the Customer as he liked to know how we derived the maximum numbers of days for the development components.  I was of course, stuck with this question as I was not sure if the Account Manager mentioned anything like it was a new solution or ‘off-the-shelf’ software that involves customisations for the proposal.  Again, with I can think of, I mentioned the latter and Customer pointed out that they like to know the details of the development for that components and to share with them promptly as they are in a stage of negotiating the contract and this component is the main key to clear off before deciding on the contract.

True enough, after the discussion my Manager phoned me up and requested me to write out the activities and shared with the rest before sending to the Customer.  I thought I have already shared the information with them when I was in Sydney with the teams, addressing the changes and needed works on those changes.

I do hope that we can clear this thing up as soon as possible as the teams are pressuring us on the internal charging mechanisms for their efforts for this project.


Recession-proof SOA – Is it for now?

Currently I am working on the strategy road-maps with the other Account managers to understand the common platforms we have established for our Customers and to ‘reuse’ them for new initiatives, RFP etc.  However I am lost in understanding what are the best practises that we should focus on the initiatives in improving the applications that we are to work on.  There are unclear directions from top management on what we are looking for and how to align all organisations to work towards them.

Not only we are looking into improvise SOA architecture for the integrations of existing applications, we are also facing stress from Business Development/Operations on ongoing new business opportunities and mis-aligning on the solutions to provide for the RFPs, without consulting us.  No official communication is distributed to them to engage my Organisation in participating initial RFPs’ planning and other contractual discussions.

With the likely down-term on global economics, the Organisation may not be looking forward to further align SOA strategy.  Will existing improvements on legacy applications going to be the way to sustain ongoing businesses during this economic crisis?  Or what other areas – business re-engineering their existing processes to reduce hefty IT costs on maintaining legacy systems?

  1. Are we going to look into incremental improvements on existing applications?
  2. Is business/operation looking at improvements on existing business processes?

Reference to understand SOA blueprint –

April 2018
« Jan    


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 464 other followers