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Decommissioning of the Central Processing System and Migration to an In-House Claim Management Solution

Deadlines
Collaboration
Strategy

9 December, 2021

Jan Pieczykolan
Jan Pieczykolan

Head of IT Development at Santander Bank Polska

Jan Pieczykolan, Software Engineering Director, shares a case study of what is essential when moving from a legacy third-party system to a new in-house solution.

Problem

The central company system was based on an external vendor product. Therefore, our further growth was limited by its existing features and non-functional characteristics. The system was dedicated to processing service requests; we used it to process our customer claims. There were issues coming from this approach. One of them was that in our case, the communication schema with the customer and other engaged parties had to be different from the solution creators primarily planned. This introduced an additional level of potential problems in such crucial areas as communication – this could not be accepted.

The company started to implement its solution a long time ago. But as usual, the more features we added, the bigger the needs were; therefore, business was constantly surprising us with new feature requests that were "necessary" to decommission the old solution and entirely switch to the in-house one.

Additionally, the priority of the new system was never higher than other initiatives – there always were the more important things to do.

Actions taken

We set a non-negotiable deadline by making an internal decision that we will not prolong our current contract with the vendor. Therefore, the internal message for the team and all other employees was clear – there is no other option than to finish the roll-out before the deadline. This helped convince those who didn't believe that we were migrating. Additionally, this agreement was one of the best methods of securing the scope – everybody was aware that adding new requirements was raising the risk of missing the deadline.

We dedicated a single team to lead the initiative – those guys were responsible for finishing the decommissioning project. They had time to do that, as they weren't involved in other initiatives.

In the beginning, we prepared a plan that consisted of a list of necessary actions, list of required features, owners, and due dates. The plan was discussed and agreed upon with the business. We reviewed it on a bi-weekly basis. This helped us avoid scope creeping as it was super challenging to add new requests to the base plan.

Lessons learned

  • Having a plan is a good idea. Besides, only having that is not enough 一 you should stick to it and review it regularly. Plans can and should be updated – if it is needed, then do it. Don't forget to inform other people about that.
  • Not always it is possible to have it from day 0 – sometimes you need to spend time on due diligence to gather the knowledge required to build the plan, but after some time, the plan is necessary.
  • Assign such tasks to a team and ensure that that team has space to work on it.
  • A strict deadline is your ally as long as you will fit within it. That's why it is good to have a backup plan for such a situation.

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