The Art of Good Digitalization

Cliff Moyce, Chairman of Advisory Board at DataArt, contributes a bylined article to Tab Forum on digitalization in the financial services and the barriers to its successful implementation, emphasizing a customer-centric approach as the key success factor in the digital era.

“The technology to do great digitalisation was around for years before Uber appeared – but very few firms in any industry used it to do what was most important: solve the real problem for their customers. Only when you solve the real problem with a new technology can you claim to have succeeded. Implementing new technology is not enough in its own right.

What is the “real problem” that needs to be solved in financial services? It is the ability to transact in a manner that is most convenient to the customer, rather than most convenient to the provider – i.e., digitally across all products and services regardless of location, time and device. Access to all necessary information, including news and advice, as well as balances, limits, and terms and conditions, is a prerequisite of transacting in an informed manner, so must also be available readily.

To date, digitalisation in financial services has been stuck in the 1990s model of combining “brochure-wear” webpages owned by the marketing department, with some parts of the paper-based process transferred to screen by the IT department and calling it “online banking” (or online insurance/investment management). This is not digitalisation and it does not solve the problem of transacting on any device from any place at any time with access to full information.

To achieve customer centricity, digital services must be designed from the ground up and not just transferred from non-digital processes. To understand the real problem to be solved, you must not start by assuming that you know the answer; or by guessing the answer...Instead of questions and answers, a better approach is to use the Lean product development method. The method involves showing prototypes to customers and then changing the design (“pivoting”) and producing further iterations based on their feedback.”

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