Protecting customers from failed technology change activity

The FCA has published a summary of the findings of its multi-firm review of how firms implement technology change, what challenges are caused when changes fail, and how firms can protect their customers from harm and disruption.

Summarising a detailed report on the findings, also now live on the FCA website, the FCA’s summary statement focuses on the issue of protecting consumers from the harm caused by failed technology changes.

It’s a fact of business life that technology change doesn’t always go according to plan. It’s important firms recognise this when planning any significant change to the technology they employ.

This consideration is all the more important right now, as the impact of Covid-19 is forcing many firms to change their business models in fundamental ways and consequently move fast to implement new technology.

The FCA’s report found that technology change is one of the main causes of operational disfunction within firms, accounting for a quarter of all high-severity incidents resulting in harm to consumers or the market.

What are the common factors in successfully implemented technology change projects? The FCA’s report suggests that having a strong governance and risk management strategy is one key to success. Another is including robust testing in the change process. A third, interestingly, is ‘pairing subject matter expertise with a clear understanding of a firm’s strategy.’

The FCA notes that while some technology change projects have been accelerated by the current pandemic, others have been disrupted. However firms find themselves affected, the FCA says it is vital they invest in resilience to protect themselves, their customers and the market.

The full report includes a detailed discussion of steps firms can take to reduce the frequency and severity of disruption due to technology change activity and is well worth taking a look at – particularly if your firm is considering introducing new technology in the short to medium term.

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