Digital transformation: preparing for a new reality

in Industry Insights, 20.05.2020

As we look to come out of confinement, it is becoming more and more clear that Covid-19 will have widespread and long-lasting implications on humanity and our global economy. With no real vaccine to combat it yet, nor any kind of medication to slow down its effects on the human body, it is still unclear when exactly we will be back to normal. In the meantime, the world is adapting to this pandemic at its own pace.

With nearly a quarter of the world’s population under some form of lockdown, companies are facing challenges like never before. Every day, they see the impacts: supply chain disruptions, falling customer demands or state-enforced social distancing rules that compromise how they do business.

However, in the financial world, most of us have moved to remote working and have realized that even if productivity or sales performance has slightly decreased compared to normal, long-distance collaborative work is still possible thanks to the various digital tools (e.g. Microsoft Teams or VPNs) deployed by our respective information technology teams.

But what is most interesting, from my point of view, is that the perceived value of digital transformation is now at its highest level ever. Let’s take, for example, the banking industry where consumer demand for digital banking has never been stronger. Institutions that invested in digital solutions before this crisis successfully reduced their dependency on their branch network, for example, when opening a new account or making an application for a loan. Those who delayed it have unfortunately been caught flat-footed without the ability to deliver a positive digital experience to their clients or prospects. Kind of a reality check, isn’t it? But it’s not too late to take the plunge into digital.

If you now plan to retool your business for the future, harnessing digitalization to help your organization become more resilient, here are some tips to move you forward.

You can divide digital transformation into four main pillars:

While establishing your digital strategy, you can define your transformation imperative and answer the following questions:

  • What are your strategic priorities?
  • What are the main objectives and drivers of customer experience?
  • How do you compare with competitors and best practices?

Once done, you will identify what to transform and which technologies will enable your transformation by defining your digital architecture.

To decide what to transform and define the best operating model, you will need to answer questions like these:

  • What are my clients’ needs, behaviors and expectations?
  • How do my clients interact with my organization?
  • How should my omni-channel operating model work?

You will then define which technologies and technological components will be the best for delivering the service your clients expect. You may decide to use intelligent automation to serve that objective. Here are a just a few examples:

  • robotic process automation (RPA) to eliminate the most time-consuming and tedious manual processes and save employees’ time and effort
  • intelligent data capture tool to automatically extract information from paper or electronic documents
  • machine learning and cognitive technologies to deploy chatbots or digital voice assistants that will interact with your clients through instant messaging platforms or your website.

Once you have chosen which of these fancy technologies will deliver a superior experience to clients, you may need to ensure that you are able to govern and support the digital transformation inside your entire organization through a dedicated structure called a digital office. The main role of this structure will be to:

  • establish the governance model’s decision structures, operating procedures, execution KPIs and collaboration enablers
  • manage and govern assessment of opportunities to leverage digital transformation effectively
  • define your methodologies and approaches for delivering the expected products and solutions (e.g. Waterfall, Agile, etc.).

Finally, once all the previous steps are completed, the last and most important one is to deliver. To be successful, transformation needs to be well managed and you need to put a couple of elements in place to make that happen:

  • ensure you track the benefits of your transformation
  • enable a continuous improvement program and culture that supports innovation and ongoing business sustainability
  • rely on talented individuals who will help you deliver on promises and make sure your organization is ready, willing and able to deliver sustainable change at all levels of the organization.

Digital transformation is not new. You might be starting now or already be in the middle of your journey. What if you use the COVID-19 pandemic as a catalyst to propel you across the finish line?

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If you have any questions or would like additional advice, please contact me.


This article has been written by Julien Baudouin.