How SVB’s collapse impacted our implementation

Banking on Change: Lessons from the SVB Bank Collapse in ERP Deployment

 

 

Introduction

In the unpredictable domain of finance, the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has highlighted the necessity for robust risk management strategies, even in the seemingly unrelated arena of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation. The shockwaves felt by finance professionals metastasized into challenges for companies in the midst of deploying crucial ERP systems like NetSuite. This blog post examines a case where improbability became reality and scrutinizes the crucial lessons gleaned from these extraordinary events.

 

 

Impact on NetSuite ERP Implementation

The tale of a NetSuite ERP implementation, in progress when SVB’s crisis unfolded, serves as a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of external risks. A financial institution’s stability is seldom considered a potential hazard in project planning. Yet, the SVB fallout demonstrates that no entity, however peripheral to a project, should be disregarded in risk assessments. With just over 2 months to go live, here are the steps we undertook to ensure a smooth launch.

 

 

  1. Update Requirements to include new bank accounts

SVB UK was taken over by HSBC and in other regions the client transferred its daily banking to new financial institutions. A change request was required to add these bank accounts to the configuration plan. To not impact go-live a plan was required about the process for bank feeds and payment processing on go-live.

 

 

  1. Add new bank accounts

New bank accounts that the client had been set up needed to be added to NetSuite. This required details to be gathered and added and the NetSuite chart of accounts to be updated accordingly.

 

 

  1. Add new financial institutions

Setting up feeds for the new bank accounts required new financial institutions to be added and new feeds to be activated. Where we could not add new bank accounts, a decision was taken to manually load statements during the initial go-live period.

 

 

  1. Configure EFT payment profiles

As the client would continue to use SVB for some time in certain regions, the SVB EFT payment profiles still needed to be configured. For this, we needed some assistance from the SVB technical team. Given they were facing bankruptcy we were somewhat down the pecking order. We also needed to configure payment profiles for new accounts that would be used for transactional banking. Where this wasn’t possible, we devised a workaround for go-live.

 

 

  1. Client communications

In a constantly changing landscape with a tight timeline, till the client began using the system, we needed constant communication to ensure we had the latest information. They also needed to be aware of the impact on their processes post-go-live.

By reacting quickly to the unforeseen bank collapse and implementing the 5 steps above we were able to ensure that the project go-live remained on track and the system was delivered in line with the plan.

 

 

Lessons Learned for Finance Projects

 

Importance of Risk Assessment and Scenario Planning

Finance professionals must acknowledge that external events, like a banking collapse, can have a significant impact on internal projects. Comprehensive risk assessments and scenario planning are indispensable tools for navigating such turbulence.

 

 

Strategies for Adapting to Unforeseen Disruptions

Adaptability is key. ERP implementation plans must be ready to pivot, incorporating changes from the external financial environment. Establishing flexible workflows and backup processes can make such transitions smoother.

 

 

Agreeing payment schedules and being paid on time

For a moment it looked like SVB collapse could bring down thousands of private equity-backed businesses that had lodged their VC funds with the bank. Would a business with sudden cashflow limitations still think investing in NetSuite was the right strategic decision? At this point enforcing contracts may be necessary. If this is not possible agreeing on upfront payment terms and getting paid in time will seem like a very wise business decision.

 

 

Conclusion

The SVB collapse, a black swan event for the financial industry, served as a significant and unexpected change event during ERP implementations. Whilst many would believe it is overkill, it reinforced the merit of exhaustive risk management and the inherent requirement for agility and flexibility in a project plan. This post aims not merely to retell a cautionary tale but to inspire finance professionals to proactively address external risks and craft stronger, more resilient ERP project plans.