Lessons from RBS: business process outsourcing to blame, not IT


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So Stephen Hester blames it all on an IT software upgrade that went belly up.

It’s easy to blame IT. After all, it’s a faceless entity and all that technobabble can confuse and confound the public and set the hares racing with the newspapers and news services (“Banks systems need upgrading”….please, whether written in COBOL or Java they are complex beasts, don’t make light something you clearly don’t understand BBC !)

However, peer a little deeper into the rabbit hole and it all stems from management and processes, not IT. Poorly designed outsource processes, too many hand-offs, lack of quality and control, little visibility of responsibility, the list could go on but you know it yourselves.

It’s not IT that fail.

  • It’s the person who writes the requirements.
  • It’s the person who translates them into a functional design.
  • It’s the person who tests the new code.
  • It’s the person who approves it into production
  • And it’s the process that binds them all together
People. Process. Technology. More or less in that order.

That’s why BPM is crucial. It exposes those holes with glaring clarity, shocks you with the facts. Forces you to rethink how you approach your business.

And for RBS and Stephen, that rethink couldn’t come quick enough now.


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