7 Steps to Starting a Digital Banking Transformation

Nov  14 
Whitney Stewart Russell  President, Digital Solutions 

Finding the perfect blend of people, processes and technology

Most financial institutions understand the critical need for digital transformation across the enterprise. Moving toward a more robust use of digital channels and tools can redefine business activities, processes, competencies and models to leverage technologies in a strategic way. The ultimate result should be optimized operations, a greatly enhanced customer experience and a sharpened competitive edge.

But how do you get started, or if you have started and stalled, how do you keep going? Finding the necessary digital and leadership resources can be a struggle. It will help to look at transformation as a journey. Start by figuring out where you want to go, then map out how you’re going to get there.

For financial institutions ready to start (or restart) down the path of digital transformation, here are some steps to take.

1. Outline Your Objectives

What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to implement a digital-first mindset and improve legacy systems and processes? Do you want to attract and retain new customers and members with digital services? Is your goal to leverage digital assets specifically to grow your deposits or loan portfolio?

When you set your goals, keep in mind:

  • Data and metrics resources
  • Incremental progress versus making a big bang
  • Initiative leads and supporting cast
  • Whether you need help from a trusted partner

This step includes creation of a simple and easy-to-communicate list of priority objectives for your digital transformation.

2. Compare Your Product Offerings With the Competition’s

Where do you stand in the market, in terms of your digital presence? Have you packaged your products for digital-first consumers? Do you use digital tools to educate your customers and staff?

When looking at your product offerings in comparison to those of your competitors, consider:

  • The quality of, and features offered by, your website
  • The ways you educate consumers
  • The quality and appeal of your product packaging

Your goal is to create a comprehensive report card of how your financial institution stacks up against traditional and nontraditional competitors in terms of digital services.

3. Assess Processes and Technology

Evaluate your current inventory of systems and products. This is the foundation you have to build on. Do you have annual product planning activities that align with your budget and strategic plan? Are there capabilities that you haven't taken full advantage of?

A thorough review may reveal that you have more to work with than you initially thought. You’ll gain insight on how you can make the most of what you already have, and what you need to introduce to enhance your digital capabilities.

Then, get more specific about your processes. Do your processes support digital account opening? Is it a multichannel experience that can be started online and finished in-branch or through the call center? Do you have a process for monitoring app store ratings and other social media channels for consumer feedback on the apps and tools you make available?

When deciding how to transform your processes, think about:

  • Multichannel experiences
  • Branch servicing
  • App store feedback
  • Optimizing available digital services

The goal is to develop a comprehensive list of processes to be included in your transformation, based on time and budget constraints.

You can reap the benefits of digital transformation by starting with a few strategic initiatives that you can build upon later.

4. Evaluate Your Culture

Change is difficult. As you consider digital transformation, is your board of directors and your leadership supportive? Are they driving the change, or is it coming from the grassroots? How might you structure your organization for digital optimization? Do you have internal digital experts to help internal staff or, possibly, customers and members who may not be as comfortable with digital technology? Are your recruitment and training programs developing needed digital talent?

When evaluating your company and gauging its ability to evolve digitally, consider:

  • Whether your company's current culture can adapt
  • If your leadership backs the change
  • What the organizational structure would be
  • Whether talent recruitment and training programs are keeping pace with digital needs

You want to create an environment in which leaders are aligned, accountable and action oriented. But you also want to build a support staff that can facilitate your digital transformation.

5. Understand Your Customers Through Data and Analysis

Customer or member data aggregation may sometimes be a struggle, but you can’t understand your consumers without it. Take a hard look at how you’re handling this now. Do you segment your consumers by demographics, lifecycle or product mix? How do you see your digital services aligning with your customer segments and their preferences?

While defining your segmentation strategy, look closely at:

  • Product mix, wallet share and profitability
  • Digital services offerings
  • Growth levers
  • Customer and member data aggregation

The goal is to have a program that defines how to predict which consumers are more likely to add digital services, and then reach out to them with your new offerings.

6. Prioritize

Remember your list of objectives in step one? It’s important to take a practical and realistic approach toward achieving those objectives, and to communicate that pragmatic attitude to your key stakeholders. Always keep in mind that you can reap the benefits of digital transformation by starting with a few strategic initiatives that you can build upon later.

When setting priorities for your digital transformation, try to:

  • Identify quick wins
  • Consider other initiatives that may be contending for resources
  • Avoid tackling everything at once

You know your objectives. Now create a prioritized list of tactics that enable your institution to make incremental progress toward a broader digital transformation, a few successes at a time.

7. Bring Everyone Onboard

Once you establish your digital transformation framework, it's time to bring it all together. That means all hands on deck. This goes beyond our earlier discussion about culture. It’s an intentional effort to get enthusiastic buy-in, from both your staff and consumers.

To build enthusiasm around the transformation:

  • Develop an internal communications plan that clearly defines what everyone needs to do to make your digital program successful, and continue to talk it up
  • Create an external marketing plan that outlines what your consumers should expect when interacting with your financial institution, and the benefits of new digital products and resources

When you implement a common methodology to access and manage information, the people in your organization can provide insights and intelligence that lead to empowered decision making across the entire enterprise.

Reaching Out to a Trusted Partner

If you feel you need additional assistance with executing all this, you’re not alone. Fiserv is helping many financial institutions accelerate their digital roadmaps and meet consumer and small business needs through a simple, connected, financial digital ecosystem called Experience Digital. It provides a range of turnkey solutions that can be configured to individual institution needs. Contact us to learn more.