Six Sigma SaaS platform, Open Orbit, re-engineers the way Process Improvement (PI) is delivered, taking the enterprise to PI 2.0. It dramatically increases the effectiveness and efficiency of investments in process improvement.
Open Orbit turns up the knob on all the dimensions of a transformation project by applying Lean Six Sigma to project definition, process modelling, measurement, root cause analysis, solution hypothesis and benefits tracking. It provides an active Diagnostic Workbench that reduces the effort and time required to get results, a live and context-sensitive Open Knowledge Base of insights and best practices, and a connected Community Forum to drive sustained benefits and engagement. It is the thinking place of choice that practitioner can turn to, so it naturally becomes the system of record for improvement projects.
It enables Agile and Anytime governance at a project as well as process levels, accessible organisational memory and standardisation of approach – without having to mandate usage from the top. Instead of depending on adoption driven from the top, it entices the Lean Six Sigma practitioner directly by making their job easier and time more effective.
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6prog is pleased to announce Birendra Agarwal joining as Strategic Advisor. Birendra is an entrepreneurial banking and financial services CIO with work experience in the US, UK and India. His expertise spans Capital Markets (Foreign Exchange, Fixed Income and Equities), Transaction Banking and Wealth Management with a particular focus on Digital and FinTech.
I’m delighted to be working with 6prog.
This platform addresses a key need in the contract recruitment space, a much needed innovation! Having known Andy for some fifteen years, and when he showed me the 6prog platform, I did not hesitate when he asked me to join.
Interview with Birendra Agarwal and Andy Barnes [18 March 2019]
Until recently Birendra was CIO Commercial Banking at Lloyds where he successfully transformed IT for the Markets and Global Transaction Banking divisions. He has returned to the consulting practice he setup prior to joining Lloyds. Envision provides business development services to FinTech firms and strategic technology advisory services on diverse topics including digital transformation and resource strategy. This belies an extensive career in Investment, Commercial and Retail Banking IT.
In 2012, Birendra returned to the UK following three years in India as Managing Director and CIO at Nomura. This was a position he was well experienced for having played a key role in setting up the near shore centre in Belfast as part of Citi’s Global Resource Strategy. Birendra had a long and fruitful association with what ultimately became Citi.
Starting with Salomon Brothers in New York in 1994, he went on to head Market Data Services and was then appointed to run Retail Wealth Management E-Commerce Technology. Birendra was further promoted to set the strategy for Citi’s award winning digital FX platforms in his capacity as Global Head of FX E-Commerce Technology from 2001-2004.
In April 2004 Birendra made the move to UK as CIO of Global FX Technology, soon followed, in 2006, with promotion to MD and CIO of Global Rates & Currencies. In 2007, he was appointed CIO, Global Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities before joining Nomura in 2008.
Birendra is passionate about Fintech and is a Mentor at Level39. He was Co-Chair of REACH (Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage) network at Lloyds. He is a keen Cricket fan and was on the Audit Committee for the International Cricket Council from 2008-2012.
Richard has been a contractor for the past 15 years. His clients have included UBS, Credit Suisse and Barclays. 6prog wanted to learn more about his experiences and to share them.
“Hi Richard, what have you been up to recently?”
I most recently have been working on TBTF projects, where systematically important financial institutions were deemed to pose a serious risk to the economy in the event of collapse. Because of this, regulators insisted these banks “ring fenced” certain aspects of their operations and I was tasked with helping to create and build these new entities to meet this regulatory request. We also created a business solutions entity to ensure the non-regulated business was funded and managed in the event of a collapse of a trading entity.
This then led on to Brexit planning as this would also require the creation of a new entity within the EU. These projects were typically 18 months each in duration.
“How much of the bank does this type of project affect?”
I covered group risk control in London and Zurich, which included, Credit/Market/Operational risk and compliance. My role was to build and implement the standardised set of project tools to be used. This included the runbook, budget planning, on boarding of external staff, RAID log, SharePoint site, governance decks, Steerco meeting material and scrum sessions amongst other tasks. I also had to help with the creation of TOM documentation, BRD, BRSIT, ARS as well as policy documentation and service level agreement documentation.
“What was a key take-away in this project?”
I learned during my time on the trading desk working in the middle office on a previous role the importance of having a plan and process and how important documenting and being able to prove something or to be audited is to a project or team. The basic concept I keep in mind when working on a project is that to deliver on time and on budget we need to have a clear step by step guide from where we are to where we need to be. We know things are likely to move and change and we are agile enough to factor that into our planning, but we need a tangible set of activities or milestones to deliver and a plan of how we do that. These milestones have to be clear, understandable (by non-business people such as audit) simple enough to be measured/tracked and then when closed have the closing document to prove it. But the most important thing to remember is that it’s people that will deliver these projects and if you can’t find a way to get from each member of the team their contribution then we all suffer, so strong people skills/relationship building is my first starting point.
“How do you deal with challenges?”
I have found that in every project you will face issues and that’s why we have a RAID log! But the biggest obstacle is when people do not set realistic targets/milestones or re-evaluate them during the project. Hiding behind an amber rag status and hoping for something that isn’t likely to happen causes problems that just do not need to be there. If you plan well using clear statements that are measurable and where you need to, you update your approach, keep on top of your dependencies and where others depend on you, and are led correctly by a strong PM or PMO function things should go to plan…. Also, at the start, think of the known unknowns, the unknown unknowns and document them. They might come up again later and you need to demonstrate they were part of your thinking!!!!
“What is your biggest achievement?”
I am proud to say that all of my projects have come in on time and on or under budget. This is down to correctly tracking the spend, spending where it’s needed, having the right people in the right roles and having clear leadership and targets/milestones. If you have a plan, are agile enough and honest enough to change as you require and the people are the right people then you stand a great chance of delivering, on time, on budget every time!
Why modern platforms can service businesses better than ‘heritage’ one customer type businesses.
Technology has infiltrated our lives in a huge way since 2000. I say ‘infiltrated’ as if it has somehow carried this out without our knowledge, perhaps ‘invited’ would be a better word.
Whilst tech often seems made to frustrate, it is, undoubtedly better when it works.
I have been working in recent months to bring the MVP for 6prog to market. We have done it but it has not been with out hiccups and I’m certain there are more to come.
When setting out on the journey of starting my own business one friend said to me (whilst looking into a crystal ball) “whatever you do, don’t start a technology business”
Sage advice but how many traditional businesses are there that can work with the absence of tech?
6prog stops a number of traditional issues with contract recruitment such as
Client or candidate, your agency will only work as fast as it can depending on what fees you negotiated and where you are in the list [how valuable you are to them.
Get rid of them. Let’s work to service fees that are consistent and transparent
3/ TIME or TIMEZONES
Recruiters are asked to work before and after work and ‘call me back at lunch’ … why? this simply pushes up the cost of recruitment. Let’s work sensibly and use technology to communicate in time slots we have available.
Whether you have a shortlist of approved suppliers or an in-house agency you have immediately limited your pool of resources. Use platforms to capture the whole market. Sorry – another ‘tech beats humans’ point!
Utilising a members only platform means that all members are consenting to maintaining contact with you.
Platforms that are open to all to join and use have been shown to be preferred to tight verticals or industry specific sites. Open your options to many industries, open your hiring criteria to many talents from sectors and enrich your teams.
Job boards. Either lots of jobs or lots of candidates.What do people think who use them?
I recently attended an industry get-together which had stand after stand of job board companies. Some were actually job board aggregators. I’ve also noticed the larger networking sites drafting in adverts posted elsewhere.
Who is this helping?
the job poster?
I’m not sure.
This is why 6prog is network focused. We won’t put the candidates through the perpetual cycle of applications and we won’t make clients read profiles repeatedly sent from different job boards.
This is how we see it:
Review profiles of people > connect to them and invite them to your project > work.