Digital transformation has been a top priority for executives for a while now, and the organizations they lead are at different points in this journey. Some are on their first baby steps, others learning how to jog and the challengers are on full throttle sprint mode.
Digital transformation is adopting new innovative strategies to create competitive advantage for an organisation. It changes the way organizations are lead and how they work. It is not necessarily all about technology; it encompasses various elements of the organisation whereas Technology is an enabler. One of the sectors that largely benefits from digital transformation is the financial services sector, which this article will focus on.
Digital Transformation in Financial Services Sector
The Financial Services Sector is being disrupted thanks to technology, and its adoption is no longer ‘a nice’ to have but is imperative for the very survival of the industry. Traditional models are having to adjust to the new technologies and changing customer expectations .The Generation Z and Millennials may have different expectations from the Baby Boomers, the Financial services sector would need to cater to their every whim lest be rendered irrelevant .With this in mind, organizations in this sector would need to re-imagine the customer journey in order to enhance the customers engagement.
Customer Experience is driven by digital transformation. Today’s customer wants to interact with organizations through various channels, interchangeably and to have a consistent and seamless engagement across all channels. This demands organizations to change how they have worked in the past .Processes and policies need to be redesigned, their very structure would need a paradigm shift. The company must undergo a digital transformation in order to fully execute on a customer experience strategy.
Pitfalls that can cause your digital transformation strategy to fall apart
Lack of Clear strategy
Before embarking on digital transformation, the why, what and how need to be crystal clear to the leadership so that they may cascade the same to the entire organisation. The desired outcome has to be envisioned and it will drive the what and how .This would require a paradigm shift in the way the business has been done in the past.
Some organizations have attempted going digital by simply smacking on a new website along with activating social media pages while the back end is in shambles.
Digital transformation should ideally start at the very core of any organisation ;the leadership .They in turn will lead with the necessary changes to the Company structure ,Company culture and policies and also create an underlying framework to stimulate digital transformation. The technology the firm chooses to adopt should help in creating a seamless backend that would enhance the customers experience and they would truly testify that the firm really is executing on their digital transformation strategy.
Failing to align technology to the business needs
Technology is an enabler to the business .All technology initiatives need to be addressing the identified business need .The business, hence takes first priority. Let’s not get carried away by going for “nice to have” technology that’s not critical to the business. In most cases your business needs may not be all addressed by one solution alone, but would require a blend of various technology solutions to adequately address your digital transformation requirements. Hence the need to have fully grasped the business objective and not to compromise on the tech that you on board to a help you fulfill your digital transformation initiatives.
Lack of User Acceptance/Adoption
Digital transformation is bound to fail when the people in the organisation are ignored and not engaged throughout the process .This begins at the strategy level where the why what and how are defined. Defining them alone is not enough, the same has to be cascaded to the people where by each individual clearly knows how their everyday tasks cumulatively address the overall strategy.
Selecting the technology to deliver digital transformation should also involve the key stakeholders. Ultimately they are the ones to use it; they understand the business processes perfectly and would also recommend how the workflows should work to achieve the desired goals. They are a valuable resource in seeing the successful adaption of digital transformation and should not be left to wait in the side lines only to approve a poorly designed prototype.
Technology related challenges
In my experience, I have witnessed firsthand the classic ‘spanner in the works’ scenarios. These usually tend to crop up when you are midway through the delivery of a project and may end up jeopardizing everything if left unchecked. I would recommend that you be on the lookout and avoid the following;
Poor Omni-Channel support
Omni-channel is the heart of adopting customer experience, and CX as we have seen drives digital transformation .In my view it is not possible to have one without the other. Today’s digital customer expects seamless and flawless service through every channel they use to reach to your organisation.
The technology adapted to achieve this should adequately cater for each channel .A common mistake is to have a solution whose mobile channel only supports smart phones and not feature phones ,yet feature phones are owned by majority of the customers in developing countries. Hence the technology solution should have quick codes or Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) support that would cater for customers with feature phones.
The technology that you adopt should enable one to tailor it further to meet not only your specific needs but also those unique to your current market.
Flexibility is key here, as one should have the option of customizing the solution and make it work better for your organisation.
Lack of Integration
Digital transformation may not be fully achieved by the adoption of a single solution alone; it would typically be a blend of very specific technologies tailored to meet the business requirements .Hence the technology needs to be compatible with not only your current environment but the future one as well.
From my perspective, adopting a services oriented architecture would make your integration a breeze. It enables increased business agility, improved business workflows, extensible architecture and enhanced reuse.
With this I believe you should be well on your way to adopting digital transformation.