Circle Opinion

The five hallmarks of a great Life Cycle Management (LCM) strategy in Financial Services

Sam Balaam

As more organisations take advantage of AI, machine learning, and the internet of things (IoT) technology, ensuring network devices and infrastructure are supported, maintained, secured and up to date will be critical. Not least in financial services, where in 2019, US regulators fined Capital One $80 million for a breach of its data.

A well-structured and achievable life cycle management strategy is essential for all organisations so choosing the right LCM partner can make a huge difference to your operations and free your IT teams to focus on more impactful and innovative activities.

Based on our experience of running multiple large scale LCM programmes within enterprise clients, we have put together 5 core competencies which you should look for when choosing your LCM partner.

Hallmark #1 – They’re quick to react and can deliver at scale

Large infrastructure refresh projects are, by their very nature, time consuming. But while it’s important to do a good job, this shouldn’t come at the expense of project schedules or budgets.

That’s why it’s important to look for an LCM partner that doesn’t just have the right skills, but can also effectively communicate at any level and demonstrate sound planning with outcome-based objectives. In addition, they should also show a proven track record of successful project delivery – at scale, and in a way that adapts to changing requirements.

With the right resources and management, it’s possible to deliver both speed and scale.

Hallmark #2 – They take complete process ownership

Fast-paced, dynamic environments need strong leadership and experienced people to take control. Without them, projects can quickly run over time and budget, and even create more problems than they set out to address.

Your supplier should have the confidence to liaise with not just you, but other suppliers along the chain. They should always be looking at things from a holistic perspective and looking towards creative, collaborative, progressive solutions rather than playing the blame game if there are delays.

An LCM vendor that’s willing to take complete control of your process is usually easy to spot, as they’ll have a track record of going above and beyond their basic requirements. It’s something any trustworthy vendor will be keen to demonstrate from the off.

Hallmark #3 – They work in partnership to achieve a shared goal

Rather than a transactional customer-supplier relationship, the best LCM vendors take a collaborative approach that considers the entire project lifecycle. This way, your vendor can better spot time and cost-saving opportunities, and identify and mitigate risks before they impact your operations.

By treating an environment as an end-to-end ecosystem – including working effectively with all your relevant suppliers – your LCM vendor can decide on the best way to replace your infrastructure, while causing the least disruption.

It’s an approach that’s paid dividends for one of our Investment Banking clients. By providing a bridge between the bank’s IT engineers and its physical infrastructure suppliers, we were able to save them £100,000 just by swapping out a single component type.

Hallmark #4 – They focus on communication (but know when to take the initiative)

The biggest roadblock to effective project management is poor vendor communication with you and your suppliers, which can lead to longer project cycles and wasted resources.

It’s a simple concept, but one that far too many LCM vendors get wrong – especially in the Enterprise arena.

By choosing an LCM partner that focuses on multi-stakeholder communication, you can be safe in the knowledge that critical project decisions are being made based on accurate data and facts – supported by previous experience – and communicated to you in a way that keeps you in complete control.

On the flip side, your time is precious, and you don’t always want to be consulted at every stage. So, it’s also important that you trust that your partner has the skills, experience and confidence to make decisions on your behalf where appropriate, and only come to you when necessary.

Hallmark #5 – They have significant, demonstrable experience

The key attributes of a great LCM partner are nothing without the right experience. An experienced vendor will be familiar with your goals and able to see your project from a different perspective – offering valuable advice based on their past client successes.

Simply, experience is the driver that can save you time and money, and even help give your devices and infrastructure the longevity to stay reliable and secure well into the future.

LCM should be a partnership, not just a vendor relationship

Technical failure in financial services organisations is simply out of the question. So for many, it can be all too tempting to throw money and resources at a solution.

But the truth is, LCM requires a more nuanced approach, supported by open communication, end-to-end project management, and skilled IT engineers capable of making the right decisions – no matter the size or scope of the project.

At CACI, we pride ourselves on having the agility to help our clients react quickly, supported by the scale to reliably complete projects on time and within budget.

What’s more, our skilled project managers and engineers have decades of experience delivering LCM for some of the world’s biggest financial institutions, so you can be safe in the knowledge your needs are being taken care of.

To find out more about our collaborative approach to life cycle management, take a look at our network services capabilities.


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Sam Balaam