If you’re like many asset managers, new regulation, technology advancement and globalization might have you rethinking your operating model, your approach to managing operational risks, the structure of your oversight model and even your choice of service providers supporting your back office.  Done right, back-office transformations could help asset managers reduce operational costs, broaden their capabilities, and standardize processes and systems that have grown unwieldy over time. Done wrong, they might be time-consuming and expensive, create new risks or augment existing ones, and distract management from core, value-added activities.

So the obvious question is: How do firms fall off track? Although each organization faces its own unique challenges, there are several common pain points that we see time and again:

Insufficient understanding of business requirements. If you fail to take time to clearly define your business requirements at the outset, you’ll often pay dearly for it later in the form of rework, delays and budget issues.

Rigid development processes. A development process that lacks flexibility can make it difficult to address new requirements or changes to existing requirements as they arise, forcing costly rework down the line.

Poor data management. A poorly designed data management framework—or worse, no data management strategy—has the potential to increase operational risk and lead to significant end-user rework.

Unrealistic expectations. If you purposely (or unwittingly) underestimate the time required to execute the transformation, you can expect missed deadlines, budget overruns and change management issues throughout your organization.

Inadequate staffing. Without adequate resources and access to key subject matter experts, the risk of project delays and poor decisions can increase significantly.

Competing priorities. Without effective issue resolution protocols in place, disagreements among stakeholders could increase tension, create service level gaps and delay progress.

Lack of leadership. Stakeholders are bound to have competing demands on their time. If management does not establish back-office transformation as a top-priority across the organization, progress will likely be delayed.

If any of these challenges sound all too familiar, you’ll be happy to know that help is on the way. We’ve compiled all of our very best thought leadership on back-office transformation into a Back-Office Conversion Toolkit for Asset Managers.

In the meantime, do you need help identifying your organization’s pain points? Let’s talk. You can reach me directly at mike.kerrigan@accenture.com.