Vanity Project: “Let’s disrupt our day-to-day business and aggravate our people”

We want to highlight an applicable banking blog post from last year: Scott Hodgins’ warning about vanity projects. This topic is sure to become evergreen in the banking industry, as financial services is a heavily-targeted industry vertical for Salesforce CRM (customer relationship management).

Complexity bias, a cognitive bias in favor of complex solutions, is a possible cause for vanity projects. Design guru Don Norman explains one motivation behind our complexity bias: “We seek rich, satisfying lives, and richness goes along with complexity.”

Making things worse, increased knowledge increases the preference for complexity. When knowledgeable bankers attempt a vanity project or ‘big bang’ software implementation with hundreds or thousands of affected users, complexity bias may be at work.

Choosing a Salesforce platform for banking can be rational, but the following cost must be factored into a rational decision: The friction and effort for users across the bank or credit union to think in the Salesforce platform’s visual language and workflow. Users have long experience with the Microsoft platform’s visual language. Dynamics and Power BI deserve a look for that reason alone. Salesforce’s analytics and artificial intelligence efforts are exciting, but Microsoft has recently launched competing products and services.

Here at Global Wave Group, we strive to use a design language already familiar to Microsoft users. This familiar design language is infused into our new user interface release of version four of our flagship product Credit Track. Credit Track integrates easily with Salesforce or Dynamics. Salesforce has an open API that is painless for us to work with. Further, Credit Track includes a CRM designed specifically for commercial lenders, an alternative to general CRMs such as Salesforce and Dynamics.

What’s the alternative to a vanity project or a big bang? As Hodgins says, in smaller or phased projects, vendors and executive sponsors are held accountable. We would add that in addition to holding vendors and executive sponsors accountable, users should be held accountable, but only if they are given a fair deal. Hold users accountable for adopting new software, in exchange for (a) disrupting their lives as little as possible and (b) procuring software that uses a familiar visual language.