Sunday, February 10, 2008

Getting the Go Ahead: Cost, Timing and Glamour

The project champions found what they were looking for in the shape of a new, network-based training tool, the Network Training and Communications System (NTCS), with Corporate Communications as the project sponsor. In early lobbying for the project, its champions presented the following vision:

Corporate Communications plans to revolutionize the Bank's training and communication strategy through an exciting business vision known as the Network Training and Communications Service (NTCS). In branches, NTCS will be delivered via one or more (depending on the size of the branch) PCs. These PCs will be powerful multimedia machines that run a web browser and have a "network" connection (yet to be fully defined). NTCS will support intranet access and interactive training and will provide the hardware, software and network framework for running and managing of (CD-based) multimedia training and collecting trainee data via the web browser. All these facilities will be accessed and managed via the web browser on the PC.

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While this pitch evidently attempted to capitalize on the glamour of multimedia and the World Wide Web (WWW), in the event, what made NTCS so attractive to the bank's IT strategists was its timeliness. The expected imminent arrival of the Euro would soon necessitate widespread training for bank staff, an extremely costly investment as the Bank must pay not only for the instructors, but also for venues, and foot the transport and accommodation bill for trainees. In addition, the bank loses the work of that employee for the period of the course. Corporate Communications argued that delivering training over a corporate intranet, using NTCS, would greatly minimise or, in some cases, even eliminate these costs. One of the project champions explained the business case somewhat more prosaically as follows:

The original benefits [of the earlier pilot intranet project] were the cost of printing the phone book, calls to switchboard, directory enquiries calls. With the combination of training, costs were saved regarding costs of transport and accommodation incurred sending people for training plus the time lost through them being away.

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