ABA Banking Journal - May 2012 - (Page 21)

PAss the AsPiRin THE BANkEr-TO-BANkEr ExCHANgE the headache: When technology is the problem, not the solution Technology shines like a beacon of hope, but. . . . We asked bankers to share their experiences about technology that disappointed. You can share your own experiences at http://tinyurl.com/tech-headache Remedy 1: Access proves confusing Jeremy Callais, COO, vice-president, and cashier, MC Bank and Trust Co., $317 millionassets, Morgan City, La. Technology is the source of many problems as well as the solution to many. Most large technology projects are implemented according to a well-documented plan. However, it is nearly impossible for that plan to cover all unexpected glitches. Having worked in and with IT for many years, I have seen technology solutions come and go. I also have had the joys of working on projects that were supposed to take two hours, but lasted two days. The double-edged sword, which is the pain in the side of technology, deals with rights and access to programs. On paper, it seems like an easy, straightforward task. In reality, it is much more cumbersome. In assessing the risk for bank software, one of the first items on our list is to make sure that only the people who need access to a software package are allowed that access. However, more times than not, that need for access is tough to determine. Many large software packages not only use the folders where the software is stored, but use many services on the server that also require access. Couple that with the fact that employees are always changing jobs and needing new rights. Overall, this makes for a very dynamic task. Many times, these installations occur at night or over a weekend. Access to the programs is being checked by administrators on the network, who have more rights than employees who are not administrators. Everything seems like it is going to work fine, but then, on Monday morning when employees arrive, access rights cause issues. Once all those issues are resolved, it is sometimes a chore to make sure that all new programs have appropriate rights within our backup software. All in all, technology is amazing. Technology is ever changing. Very rarely will a technology advancement go according to plan. That said, I still believe that in the long run, it is worth it. Remedy 2: Knowing when to stop Chip Register, senior vice-president and CIO, The Fauquier Bank, $612.9 millionassets,Warrenton,Va. At times, an idea is excellent, but the supporting technology is either ill-conceived or simply not sufficiently mature to provide an adequate solution. Unfortunately, that does not always give us cause for pause. And so, we forge ahead with the tools at hand to remake the world around us. I found myself in just such a situation when working as a technical architecture manager for a major bank, which has been since absorbed into a larger one. Our objective: recreate the residential loan application process, whereby loan originators, armed with laptops and “cutting edge tools” can take, approve, and onboard a loan application anywhere, anytime. Not too ambitious a goal in the light of 2012, where all are being urged to connect to “the cloud.” However, I’m describing a time when Netscape reigned supreme in the browser world, and the closest thing to broadband connectivity was an ISDN connection. Add to the problem that laptops were still new-fangled and the terms “computer savvy” and “loan originator” often did not occur in the same conversation. Tech associates and consultants alike were attempting do what had not been done before. To the good, we had at our disposal needed resources and technology. I remember well the moment I realized that we were in a world of trouble. We were attempting to create an environment, whereby the associate—using custom applications on the laptop—could enter a loan app, dial up a communication network, connect to a corporate database, and bi-directionally synchronize the corporate database of app information and statuses with the hundreds of associate laptops in the field. We were having problems. One day, the team sat in a collaborative working session. Everyone was facing a large whiteboard upon which we had designed challenges as well as solutions. I turned to the lead consultant and asked, “Why don’t we just contact someone who has done something similar to see what we can learn from them?” The response was simply, “We don’t know of anyone who has tried what we are doing.” We later learned why. We had fallen in love with the technology and crafted an elaborate solution that, at the time, was unsupportable, unstable, and unnecessary. Within the year, the project was terminated due to incomplete and halting success. We learned some good lessons. However, at the end of the day, we dialed back our expectations, took the lessons learned to improve loan origination processing, and achieved less ambitious goals. may 2012 | ABA BANKING JOURNAL | 21 http://www.tinyurl.com/tech-headache

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - May 2012

ABA Banking Journal - May 2012
Contents
Chairman's View
Editor's Column
The Economy
Bank Notes
Picture This
ABA Community Banking
Pass the Aspirin
Tech Topics
ABA Resources
Compliance Inbox
First Person

ABA Banking Journal - May 2012

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