From the skyrocketing demand for online grocery shopping to the increased bandwidth and technology needed to accommodate legions working from home, the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating digital transformation across all industries. Naturally, that is the case for the financial services industry as well, where closed branches, heightened cybersecurity risks, and other factors are prompting institutions to bolster their digital capabilities across the entire organization.
In a recent RMA Risk Readiness webinar sponsored by Inpensa, “COVID-19: Accelerating Digital Transformation,” Inpensa Co-Founder, President, and CEO Suraj Nekram outlined what banks need to consider as they pursue their own transformation journeys. Five key takeaways follow.
1. Clearly Define Your Goals
Define what digital transformation means to your organization and its expected goals and outcomes, Nekram says. Make sure the goals are clearly aligned with the future vision of the company. Once you specify your digital transformation goals, you can start to assemble the initiatives that will support them.
2. Be Forward-Looking and Nimble Throughout the Transformation Process
Be proactive. Plan a digital framework suitable not only for today’s needs but with flexibility to respond to what your needs may be in the future. As we have learned from COVID-19, next month’s landscape could be completely altered from what we are experiencing today. In fact, goals and circumstances could change while the transformation is underway. Stay nimble and open-minded so you can shift goals and budget outlays as appropriate.
3. Get Buy-In Firmwide
To get the most comprehensive and diverse set of ideas possible for driving digitalization, open communications channels to the entire organization and to people at all levels. Do not let the “loudest voice in the room” dominate the discussion, Nekram says. Give everyone a chance to be heard. Make everyone in the organization a problem solver by welcoming feedback on what should be considered in the process. Meanwhile, rally the company around the change. Help your team understand the new approaches are not threats but benefits, as it will help boost revenue and customers while maintaining business continuity.
4. Be Aware of the Barriers That Could Block Transformation
An organization needs a unified definition of what digital transformation means so that everyone is clear on objectives, Nekram advises. If there is a siloed approach to transformation, different business units could wind up with different understandings of what digital transformation means. The most important factors include appropriate funding and having a champion at the C suite level.
5. Be Able to Track Return on Investment
Make sure your bank has a standard way to track return on investment. Too often, the business case for transformation is not fully vetted. One solution is to involve someone from the finance team to spot anomalies or where savings are overstated. For example, business cases for replacing software sometimes assume savings from discontinuing the old software. But they ignore the fact that legacy software often has to run in parallel with new software for six months, creating expenses that were not anticipated. Make it known that the organization will be diligent about tracking costs and return on investment metrics over time. This will drive accountability in the organization, and those who are presenting the business cases for transformation will think about the process differently.
To learn more about Inpensa’s business case management software, click here.