This week The Guardian reported that the TSB chief executive, Paul Pester, has stepped down after an IT meltdown in April that locked thousands of customers out of their accounts, and is still causing problems five months on.
You can read the full article here.
It was announced that Pester left ‘by mutual consent,’ which sounded more akin to a Premier League manager leaving his tenure following relegation.
The doomed IT upgrade that caused disruption to millions of customers and offered a window of opportunity to fraudsters, has resulted in Pester’s position becoming untenable.
The migration away from the bank’s former owners, Lloyds Banking Group, to the new Spanish owners ‘Sabadell’ IT systems, sends stark warnings to business chiefs across the globe.
These fundamental business-changing projects are no longer just the responsibility of the CIO. This news proves that high profile IT projects are integral to the everyday operations of all modern digital businesses.
Today organisations are dependent on technology, and any changes have to be carefully planned, tested and executed.
Of course, an organisation the size of the TSB is well aware that a project of this magnitude would need careful planning and execution, and it appears that something went terribly wrong within the IT team at its new owner’s in-house IT provider ‘Sabis’.
This disaster highlights the importance of ensuring that the experts that are entrusted to deliver such projects have the right level of knowledge, experience and proven track record in delivering high profile and business-critical changes.
It’s difficult, given the level of failure, to believe that Sabis had the required know-how, or at least went through the necessary diligence to ensure that at ‘go-live’ would mean business as usual for the bank’s five million customers. And, the bank suffered another outage just last weekend.
As with all high profile failures, a review is now underway and the findings will be revealed later this year. It will be interesting to see where the blame is apportioned, but one thing that we have learned is the importance of C-level executives working closely with their IT team, regardless of whether they are in-house or a trusted third party.
We have reached a point where we don’t just expect IT to work. We demand that IT works, because for most organisations that has now become the very lifeblood of the business.