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August 24, 2018
Sandra Blair, FIS | Vice President Product Strategy
The reality of resource scarcity requires that employees’ time is well-spent carrying out the company’s goals. However, no amount project planning and tracking tools can optimize resource allocation without a single view of all resources across the company. Obtaining that single view is the challenge that resource allocation solves.
Managers rightfully applaud successful conclusions of projects, but bringing a particular initiative to a favorable close does not ensure that a company has optimized its project resources.When resource planning is conducted solely on a project-by-project basis, companies fail to look at the big picture in terms of resource allocation and priorities. As a result, the chances of a disconnect between company strategy and how people spend their time multiply.
Suboptimal resource allocation often is present in siloed organizations with limited communication between departments. Such structure limits visibility into the capacity of the overall pool of resources in the company and how resources are being utilized across departments. As a result, department project priorities are not necessarily reflective of the tactics, which provide the roadmap for executing company strategy. Uneven workflow also becomes commonplace.
“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
Adapted from “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns
Resistance to adopting resource allocation may arise from beliefs that non-discretionary tasks requiring immediate attention stand in the way of the ability to plan very far ahead. In truth, rearranging schedules to accommodate “fire-fighting” becomes easier when managers have visibility into projects across the organization, not just ones in their own departments.
Another common point of resistance stems from the belief that resource allocation is time-consuming to accomplish and maintain when, in fact, it saves time and money in the long run.
The first step in successful execution is having a shared mindset among top-level executives regarding priorities and plans. The next step is gaining buy-in from department managers, which likely requires presenting benefits. The third step is facilitating communications about and visibility into projects throughout the organization.
Transparency into how resources are allocated enables employees who are carrying out day-to-day tasks to become invested in the company’s success and better advocates.
Compliance and accuracy take time. But over time, the resource allocation model becomes an increasingly useful tool for forecasting, business case justification and determining where gaps or duplications in resources reside.
Vice President Product Strategy
Sandra Blair has over 25 years of operational and consulting experience in Financial Services. She specializes in leading teams that provide technology solutions to the largest companies in the Fortune 500. Her experience spans the financial technology industry -- primarily electronic payment processing and banking -- with extensive experience in developing systems, call centers, and back-office operations for a number of industries.
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