February 26, 2016

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Digital – Thinking Beyond Technology Investments

The future digital operating model - Part 1

‘Banking is necessary, banks are not.’ -- Bill Gates

Banks, Insurers, and Asset Managers – who are you and what will you become? The borrowed words from Bill Gates above are immediate to Banking, but slowly they will echo across all Financial Services sectors.

At the end of the day, who you become will depend on your strategy and the role you expand to (or retreat to) in your particular part of the financial services value chain. What you need to become though is more obvious and common to all.

Tomorrow, you must become engaged, intelligent, connected and fast.

The reasons why are well documented. Customers and employees need looking after and there is a need to understand and support them better; the technology to create a succinct response is available; and finally if you won’t, then others will.

An Engaged, Intelligent, Connected, and Faster (EICF) organization is built on technology. However, technology is only one part of the critical success factors driving true EICF organizations.

Those who are on their way to being EICF are expanding their frame of reference beyond technology to systemically and holistically address the people, process, skills, and structures that will make them EICF – what I call the Future Digital Operating Model.

HCL has implemented its future digital operating model framework in many instances in Financial Services. In this blog series I will describe the necessary building blocks, focusing on front end digital channel and innovation delivery in particular, which requires a new operating model to create a robust experience at speed. The reason to focus on front-end digital channel delivery in particular is for me quite clear. Often the most mature of a company’s digital operations the existing ways of working highlight systemic organizational issues that ultimately hinder the creation of meaningful customer experiences, increase time-to-market, and maintain sizable costs. Essentially, they achieve everything they are trying to avoid.

However, the tide is turning. Organizations looking to become EICF are starting their journey by fixing digital front-end delivery by establishing new ways of working that considers digital talent and skills, governance in the agile age, new analytics processes, and collaboration between business, IT and partners; all within the backdrop of deep cost cutting initiatives.

Leaders in digital channel operations, from a business and IT perspective, realize that 'digital' and new FinTech innovations against the backdrop of customer disenfranchisement has changed the game. Addressing change through a bolt-on strategy, that adds an application here or a site there, will not meet the needs of consumers in the future. They recognize that a new vision (EICF) with a response that addresses systemic organizational issues is required. For CMOs, CIOs, and CDOs, a rethink on the digital operating models is essential, and the next few years are as much about the HOW as they are about the WHAT.

In the next installment, I will discuss the systemic organizational pain points hindering the new ways of working.