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Implementing new IT projects is no easy task, especially when you have profitability, customer service and competitiveness to worry about. As important as it is to combine banking operations and IT systems, many community banks struggle with how to make this work. Below are six strategies to help keep your bank’s IT projects on track, allowing you more time to focus on your customers:

Get technology users’ buy-in.  It’s important to present the benefits of a potential project to all departments and make sure you get everyone’s input. Plain and simple: if you don’t have a good buy-in, your idea won’t get very far.

Maintain good information flow. This is crucial for branch-wide understanding of new projects. Your bank’s IT department should understand and communicate exactly how the projects will impact day-to-day operations.

Keep senior management engaged. Oftentimes, upper management pushes down projects to others, eliminating communication and contributing to failed execution. Senior managers should continue to stay involved and work with IT staff to deliver projects as planned.

Break down IT project execution into components. The bigger the project, the more likely it is to fail. Therefore, to reduce risk, you should consider breaking down projects and taking smaller steps to implement them.

Exercise rigorous project management skills. This will help with accountability, implementation and tracking problems. Consider having weekly meetings to gain feedback on the projects.

Leverage vendors and other third-party capabilities. Working with an outside IT department allows you to focus on being a great community bank, and puts your IT efforts in the hands of professionals.

Community banks that adopt these six strategies will be better positioned to execute their IT strategies and successfully implement new programs. For more information, please visit Independent Banker.