"Strategic insight combined with clear, concise and actionable solutions"

It’s a confusing world. Every week we get calls from clients asking for guidance on new technology, and new digital strategies.


How do you choose? With the current technology sprint, it’s often hard to make sense of it all –the iPhone, after all, is only 10 years old.


Digital transformation is critical to the industry, and critical to your bank’s success. How do you determine which strategies are right for your bank now?


If we were to write a “how to” manual for textbook implementation, there would be ten key takeaways:


  1. Define a digital strategy—and be bullish. Are you aspiring to be the most digitally advanced community bank in your market? Is your goal to flesh out certain products? Step back, pick a customer- oriented strategy that will guide your journey. Without this, it’s easy to fall into the trap of chasing the latest “shiny object.”
  2. Build for Millennials and you’ll succeed with all age groups. Digital adoption and migration is happening across all age groups but at different paces. The lag between younger and older cohorts is shrinking—but experience with social media and bank technology adoption shows that what the 21-year-old consumer uses today, your 55-year-old customers will use three years from now. Develop for your younger customers, learn from that experience, and you will ultimately serve your broader base.
  3. Include the compliance team early in the process. Taking a regulation crafted in the early 1990s and interpreting it for today’s digital world is not easy. The compliance group will need time and will appreciate the upfront engagement.
  4. Select the right technology partner – this is especially important with FinTechs. Culture fit is critical. Spend time learning each other’s institutions. As with any partnership, the fit needs to make sense. Does the FinTech share the same commitment to the customer experience as your bank?
  5. Confront and discuss the obvious. FinTech firms operate at lightning speed through dedicated project management operations and agile processes—while banks are historically conservative and slow. Both partners need to meet in the middle and work at a mutually comfortable and challenging pace. Recognize that your partner needs you and your loyal customers, just as you need them and their technology. What’s more, you can learn from each other. Your bank will better implement projects, ranging from IT to product development, after learning agile project management methods from your FinTech partners.
  6. Drive the process by creating company-wide buzz. You are about to embark on something exciting. Get all your employees excited as well. Start communications early and keep the momentum going. It will result in better implementation and create enthusiasm that will impact your entire organization.
  7. Don’t settle for anything less than full integration with existing systems. Often the initial response from your IT group, or your core vendor, is “I’m not sure that this can really be done.” It can be done: Don’t take “no” for an answer.
  8. Introduce your solution in stages. These include pilot, soft launch and full launch—and don’t be afraid to make changes on the fly. FinTech firms excel at testing “proof of concept” and then rapidly improving based on actual customer experience.
  9. Keep your brand front and center. It is what your customers trust. If your FinTech partner values promoting their brand above all else, then you’ve chosen the wrong partner.
  10. Don’t stop innovating. Again, it’s a journey. Take the first step in moving from an operating model (where products and processes are built and managed internally) to a more efficient model of utilizing “best in breed.” The payoff is significant.

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