Delivering certainty in digital change and transformation

01 Sep 2023

This month’s author:  

Daniel Dore

CEO and Founder of Assured Thought

 In this month's blog, Daniel Dore unveils Assured Thought’s 13-step digital change and transformation framework – which the company’s experts follow religiously when navigating the challenging terrain of financial services change management. 

Wealth Management and Private Banking organisations certainly understand the critical importance of digital change and transformation. That’s not in doubt. However, despite this understanding, many digital transformation programmes still fail to deliver the outcomes expected of them. Research has shown that factors such as inadequate planning, lack of clear objectives and ineffective implementation strategies often contribute to these failures.

Specialised expertise in digital change and transformation

At Assured Thought, we recognise those challenges and are committed to providing solutions that ensure successful digital transformation programmes for financial services organisations. Our specialists’ in-depth domain knowledge ensures a thorough understanding of the unique challenges, complexities and opportunities specific to the sector, and we’ve developed a comprehensive framework designed to drive tangible business outcomes and overcome the obstacles that hinder digital transformation initiatives.

In this blog, I’m going to guide you through our transformative process that brings about the results and positions organisations like yours need for long-term success.


Assured Thought’s 13-step framework

At Assured Thought, we follow a proven 13-step framework designed to deliver tangible business outcomes and maximise the success of every digital change and transformation programme. Each step has been meticulously crafted to address critical aspects of the journey, ensuring a comprehensive approach that drives sustainable results.

Let's explore each step in detail.

 Step one: Authorisation

Building a foundation of commitment

The first step of our framework focuses on obtaining formal acceptance from the project’s sponsor. This involves documenting the sponsor's approval to proceed with the transformation programme and capturing the specification of initial requirements. By formalising this authorisation process, we establish clear understanding and agreement between all stakeholders on the programme’s objectives and scope. This documentation serves as a foundation for the other 12 steps, ensuring the transformation journey begins with a solid framework and a shared vision of success.

 Step two: Scope and requirements management

Setting clear objectives

Step two focuses on documenting and obtaining approval for the programme's scope from the sponsor while ensuring alignment with stakeholders. By collaborating closely with stakeholders to understand their objectives and expectations, we can more adeptly outline the programme's boundaries, deliverables and objectives. Regular communication and review sessions with the sponsor ensure adjustment, clarification and approval of the scope document. We prioritise transparency and open dialogue.

 Step three: Design framework

Blueprinting the future state

In our third step, our experts employ a structured approach to design the platform and, considering industry best practices, select suitable vendors within the digital change and transformation programme. Throughout the design process, effective communication and collaboration with stakeholders are prioritised to incorporate their requirements and preferences.

 Step four: Build and vendor management

Orchestrating seamless execution

Step four focuses on build and vendor management within the programme. Assured Thought excels in this area, leveraging our existing vendor relationships and ensuring seamless execution and effective collaboration with internal developers and external vendors. We meticulously plan the build phase, defining activities, timelines and resource allocation. Robust tracking mechanisms keep us on track while proactive vendor management fosters collaboration and maximises value. Regular vendor performance assessments ensure adherence to quality standards and project objectives. This approach drives efficiency, mitigates risks and enhances overall programme performance.

 Step five: Quality

Fostering excellence at every stage

Step five focuses on quality assurance within the programme. We conduct comprehensive evaluations and ensure alignment with a traceability matrix for requirements. We implement rigorous quality assurance measures – including thorough reviews and tests – to validate functionality, performance and compliance. Our commitment to quality assurance and traceability ensures standards are high and defined requirements are met.

 Step six: Testing

Ensuring reliability and performance

Our sixth step focuses on the strategy, process and comprehensive documentation of testing. We develop a clear testing strategy, outlining objectives, scope and approach. Our testing process includes planning, execution and evaluation of tests – with meticulous design of test cases and scripts. Comprehensive documentation of test plans, scripts and results ensures transparency and effective communication. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) plans and acceptance criteria are documented to align with business requirements. We prepare data and environments for reliable testing, prioritising thoroughness and adherence to industry standards. Assured Thought’s expertise in testing enables client organisations to validate functionality and performance effectively, ensuring their programmes meet high quality standards and acceptance criteria.

 Step seven: Planning and dependencies

Coordinating for success

Step seven focuses on planning and dependencies within the programme. We determine activities, schedule project plans and estimate the required resources. We collaboratively identify key tasks, milestones, and deliverables needed to achieve programme objectives. A comprehensive schedule is created, considering dependencies and critical path analysis. Resource estimation is based on expertise and industry knowledge, allocating resources based on skills, availability and workload. Assured Thought's meticulous planning ensures a well-structured programme, accounting for activities, dependencies and resource requirements.

 Step eight: Budget process (costs)

Maximising value and ROI

Step eight focuses on the budget process and cost management. We ensure accurate cost estimation and transparent communication. Costs are authorised through a structured approval process. We employ meticulous methods to estimate costs, considering project scope, resources, technology investments and potential contingencies. Transparent communication keeps stakeholders informed about estimated costs throughout the programme. Authorisation of costs follows a structured approval process, ensuring alignment with the programme's budget and organisational guidelines. Assured Thought's approach ensures financial transparency, control and effective management of costs.

 Step nine: Resources

Leveraging the right skills and expertise

In step nine, we strategically identify project roles, establish reporting relationships and document responsibilities for effective collaboration and accountability. We ensure human resource availability and adhere to client standards for hardware and software sourcing. We assess and confirm the availability of necessary human resources, optimising allocation for timely project completion. When sourcing hardware and software, we adhere to client standards, ensuring compatibility and reliability. Assured Thought's approach to resource management ensures strategic alignment, efficient utilisation, and adherence to industry standards throughout the digital change and transformation programme.

 Step 10: Governance and communication

Transparent collaboration and alignment

In our tenth step, we identify and document all project-impacted individuals and organisations, analyse stakeholders to determine their involvement and interests and tailor communication strategies accordingly. Structured reporting frameworks provide stakeholders with a comprehensive view of project status, deliverables and performance. Regular updates and progress reports keep stakeholders well informed and engaged. Assured Thought's approach ensures effective governance, stakeholder engagement and transparent communication throughout the programme.

 Step 11: Change management

Embracing transformational shifts

In step 11, we establish a structured change management process, documenting change requests and assessing their impact on scope, time and cost. A thorough analysis is conducted to evaluate potential impacts, considering factors such as resource allocation and strategic alignment. Approved changes are tracked, communicated to stakeholders and reflected in project plans and budgets. Assured Thought's approach ensures controlled changes, maintaining programme alignment and minimising disruptions.

 Step 12: Risk and issues management

Mitigating challenges

In our twelfth step, we take a systematic approach to identify, evaluate and mitigate risks. We promptly address issues and collaborate on effective solutions. Risks are assessed to prioritise mitigation strategies and minimise their impact while issues are diligently managed to prevent disruptions and find timely solutions. We evaluate the impacts of risks and issues on programme objectives, adjusting plans as needed and proactively managing high-probability/high-impact risks and critical issues to ensure programme success.

 Step 13: Programme organisation

Coordinating for success

In our final step, we ensure a team is assembled with the right skills and capabilities, combining internal and external expertise for optimal programme success. We assess project requirements and strategically mix internal team members with external specialists. Internal team members provide institutional knowledge and collaboration – while external experts bring specialised skills, specific transformation experience and fresh perspectives. This collaborative approach maximises capabilities, fosters innovation and drives digital change and transformation programmes to successful conclusions.

 The 13-step framework’s results

At Assured Thought, we have proven expertise in delivering successful digital change and transformation programmes for financial services firms. Our 13-step framework consistently ensures certain outcomes, and our team of specialists brings deep domain knowledge and a commitment to excellence.

Digital change and transformation are now imperatives for financial services organisations that want to thrive and stay ahead of their competitors. As a result of our proven track record, our partner organisations embark on their digital transformation journeys with confidence, knowing our experts will guide them to success. Our 13-step framework helps us to empower organisations to embrace change, enhance efficiency and unlock new opportunities in the rapidly evolving landscape of financial services.

For more expert advice from Assured Thought, the QA and testing provider of the financial services industry, click here:

Providing exceptional quality assurance and testing products and services to financial services businesses in order to manage risk, maximise opportunity, and deliver certainty.

Assured Thought Limited | Registered Office: 124 City Road, Shoreditch, London, EC1V 2NX | Registered in England and Wales
Company Number 5288472 | VAT Registration Number GB 892 5148 95 | Copyright © Assured Thought 2022