There were two main cultures operating within the Trust division at Providian. One was the front office, which contained the Trust officers – generally considered the most change-resistant people in the entire company. Providian Trust officers worked to develop intimate relationships with their clients and had very little technical knowledge. They were entrusted to manage all areas of their clients’ affairs, from handling statements to maintaining close working relationships, without the aid of technology pieces such as personal computers, email, or the Internet.
The second main culture or the Trust division, the back-office, mainly dealt with support for the front-office. Yet the front-office replicated many clerical tasks of the back-office, creating redundant tasks and inefficiency. The back-office felt that the Trust officers were overstepping their bounds and doing their jobs less efficiently since they replicated back-office work. When things went awry, the Trust officers compensated for late or inaccurate statements by discounting or waiving fees. This cost the company an estimated 2 to 5 million dollars annually.
However, For a better analysis to the Providian case study, we have addressed eight questions and answered them based on some concepts whom we have learned in class.
Providian’s approach to its IT project showed a fundamental lack of understanding in the area of project management. At the very root of project management, there must be a project manager with the right amount of experience and skills to see the project through. This manager must be able to identify and address technological and personnel issues, but political ones as well. LeBlanc should not have been in control of this project because he did not have a fundamental understanding of the project or management. He was created an insular project team and actively ignored concerns or difficulties. Because of the nature of the project, Providian should have hired someone who had the skills to properly implement the Access Plus system. A quality outside manager would be sensitive to the political situation without being swayed by it.
Providian had the right idea to use a piecemeal implementation plan; however, they did not carry it out correctly due to their insensitivity to the human factor involved. LeBlanc did not truly understand how IT and business fit together. In addition, effort must be made to draw input from all facets of the business in the project planning. When the initial rollout showed fundamental problems, the project should have been reviewed with rigor.
Providian should have included the entire Balanced Score Card, scenario planning, and risk in evaluating this system. Because there was a misunderstanding of how the project was to impact the business, the ROI figures did not accurately reflect the project. Providian likely would have seen outsourcing as a viable option had it taken everything into consideration.
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