As the world becomes increasingly digital and more connected, businesses are forced to think differently about where to play and how to win with innovation.
To drive growth from innovation in this environment, banks and credit unions must define a digital transformation strategy that includes the application of emerging technology areas, disruptive business models and new markets, and building digital skills and culture.
Developing innovation strategy is a key part of our business. We have watched companies pour millions into “digital transformation” initiatives — but a high percentage of those fail to pay off because companies put the cart before the horse, focusing on a specific technology (“we need a machine-learning strategy!”) rather than doing the hard work of fitting the change into the overall business strategy first.
At CCG Catalyst, we advise our clients we need to assess and define their business strategy before investing in anything. Banks, credit unions who aim to enhance organizational performance using digital technologies often have a specific tool in mind. “Our bank needs a machine learning strategy,” perhaps. But digital transformation should be guided by the broader business strategy. There is no single technology that will deliver “speed” or “innovation”. The best combination of tools for a given organization will vary from one vision to another.
Banks and credit unions that seek transformations (digital and otherwise) frequently bring in outside consultants who tend to apply one-size-fits-all solutions in the name of “best practices.” Our approach to transforming organizations is to rely on what is unique about your organization. We collaborate with your staff who have intimate knowledge about what works and what does not in their daily operations. Often new technologies can fail to improve organizational productivity not because of fundamental flaws in the technology but because intimate insider knowledge has been overlooked.
We design customer experience from the outside in. If the goal of a digital transformation is to improve customer satisfaction and intimacy, then any effort must be preceded by a diagnostic phase with in-depth input from customers. CCG Catalyst 4D™ methodology was developed specifically for this purpose.
Recognize employees’ fear of being replaced. When employees perceive that digital transformation could threaten their jobs, they may consciously or unconsciously resist the changes. If the digital transformation then turns out to be ineffective, management will eventually abandon the effort. It is critical for leaders to recognize those fears and to emphasize that the digital transformation process is an opportunity for employees to upgrade their expertise to suit the marketplace of the future.
Bring start-up culture inside the bank or credit union. Start-ups are known for their agile decision making, rapid prototyping and flat structures. The process of digital transformation is inherently uncertain: changes need to be made provisionally and then adjusted; decisions need to be made quickly; and groups from all over the organization need to get involved. As a result, traditional hierarchies get in the way.