We are one month away from the former Pacific Continental Bank data systems merging with and converting to Columbia Bank.
At some point during the valley of despair many of the “systems people” will do what we have never done before…
It is a bitter-sweet time for everyone, but especially for those of us who have developed, monitored and cussed these systems for years.
As with any conversion things are heating up fast during the pre-conversion frenzy. There will be training to learn new systems and new processes. Groups will be running mock tests of the data to be converted, making updates so it can flow into the new banking systems. Client communication, client communication and more client communication will be happening. The terror and dread will build to a crescendo and in one month it will break loose into the utter chaos of conversion weekend. Heads will be down in reports, scanning for errors and inconsistency, fingers will be flying over keyboards correcting data and inputting items that could not be imported into the new system. It is fully in the hands of the back office people. Boxes will be checked as each system is validated. Once all those boxes are checked, systems will be brought online and handed over to the clients and our client facing employees.
If we are lucky we will hover in the eye of the storm…calm, for an hour? Maybe two? The length of our reprieve depends on what time we go live. On Monday morning businesses will be anxious to get in and see their new banking tools. Employees will be adjusting to their new equipment and navigating still unfamiliar systems. And then the hurricane will unleash at full force. Login problems, navigation problems…the phones will ring off the hook, email systems will bulge with questions. Internal and external issues will both be vying for the attention of limited support resources. We will live in the midst of this storm for several days.
And then fatigue will set in, tempers will flare. Squalls will blow through as clients need to process individual functions necessary to complete their business cycle. And then, my friends, we enter the valley of despair. It is a slog. Hot spots flare up and are extinguished as vendors write new code, run correcting programs against misinterpreted data and employees manually fix things that cannot be automated. Client facing employees will guide clients through the usage of their new tools.
It. Is. A. Grind.
At some point during the valley of despair many of the “systems people” will do what we have never done before. We, who are used to being the last men standing during conversion or crisis, will get up, clear out our desks and walk away. The job won’t be finished but it will be handed over to our capable counterparts at Columbia Bank.
For those who remain, you need to know, the valley of despair will get better. The chaos will subside. Many of you worry about not having the people who have supported you for so long. We’ve had our moments… but you’ve known you could depend on us, trust us with the care of your clients and you have valued the knowledge and skill we brought to the table. You will build new bridges, interact with your new counterparts, discover the wealth of resources your new systems will offer.
And then it will be back to business as usual.