Optimise the change portfolio


Banks are overrun with demand for change. For the vast majority it is ‘keep the lights on’ for existing technology and comply with changing regulation. The pressure to modernise, comply, reduce cost, improve service and innovate is all-consuming. In order to prioritise resources, rigorous decision-making is needed over which initiatives to fund, when to deliver them, and how to resource. The solution is a clear roadmap for change, prioritised against the delivery of strategic objectives and constantly assessed on its fitness for purpose.

Ask any bank Change Portfolio Director what they wish for and the response is unanimous – more. Whether it is more time to execute, more funding to resource projects or more clarity on what they will face next, all agree that they are under pressure to deliver. The one thing they would like less of, ironically, is change. Happiness is an organised and stable portfolio, and a frustration of most internal customers and change functions is the state of flux in which they are operating. For example, while regulations are delayed or await confirmation, new requirements emerge and the impact of new technology continues apace.

We assess change portfolios objectively. This requires a combination of reduction, rationalisation, and rethinking. Reducing often means paring the portfolio back to the ‘critical few’ initiatives that will deliver and must be delivered, either for regulatory, audit or Board commitments. Rationalisation drives consolidation of initiatives either delivering similar outcomes or addressing the same problem, though avoiding the ‘asteroid effect’ where the combined initiative becomes unwieldy and inefficient. Rethinking is perhaps where we do our best work. This can include deferring regulatory initiatives where the timeline is long-dated and the implementation measures unclear, deprioritising pseudo-regulatory initiatives which are mandatory in title only, and focusing the innovation portfolio on what the customer will notice, value and pay for. Often innovation programmes are unicorn-hunters, chasing gains from the latest technology buzz-term, with no customer or business issue being solved as a result. We refocus these on delivering valuable customer outcomes.

Our approach typically targets an improvement of 10-15% of portfolio value. This either creates greater headroom for delivery at the same cost, or brings the cost of delivery in line with the budget available. The exercise becomes a repeatable discipline and has wider benefits to the business in upgrading the quality (and reducing the volume) of future business cases looking for funding.

As part of the process we help clients answer key questions.

  • How can we meet the change demand with a limited supply of change funding?
  • What do we say ‘no’ to when everything is a priority?
  • What change is critical and urgent, and what is just critical?
  • What would our portfolio look like if we start with a budget of £0 and work up to my budget allocation?
  • What are the lenses we can view the portfolio with to get a better sense of what the ‘must do’ items are?


  • Casimiro Gracia
    Executive Chairman

    Casimiro Gracia

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    Luis Fernández

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  • Senior manager

    Guillermo Torres

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