Do you have a Winning Digital Strategy?

The majority of banks these days claim they have a digital strategy, but the ubiquitous presence and casual use of the term “Digital” creates risk.  Although everyone seems to have a Digital Strategy, the definition is subject to change with each banking institution, and the focus could include mobile, social, online, marketing, or any combination of those, depending on who is asked.

So the question remains, do you have a Digital strategy like many other banks that is loosely defined, potentially reinforces siloed technical capabilities and products, and does not to provide much detail as to how to make the best initial investments?  Or do you have a Winning Digital Strategy that provides specific sales, marketing, servicing, operational, and reporting needs in addition to prioritizing how your organization will reshape itself to quickly take advantage of the highest value areas?

To form a Winning Digital Strategy, you should recognize the following:

  • A Winning Digital Strategy should take advantage of the extremely personal, always-on, and context aware capabilities that mobile and social technology advancements provide while recognizing that knowing and serving your customers’ preferences will help to build trust over time.
  • A Winning Digital Strategy should help reinforce annual growth targets as well as cost containment goals in that the mix of channels that customers use will change, as will the underlying costs of servicing customers across each of those channels.
  • You should set the expectation within your organization that a Winning Digital Strategy will require operational and procedural changes to account for new technology adoption.  Processes will change; ways of serving your customers will change.  Set these expectations early, and map the changes to tangible value.
  • Visibility and control over the process will need to be thought through as will the new procedures that will be required to mitigate the risks that digital technologies like mobile, social, geo-location, and more powerful data analytics introduce.
  • Organizations should expect that a greater degree of rigor will be required to improve the selection, purchase, and application of broadly defined digital technologies so that investment may be more appropriately aligned with the specific needs of the institution as opposed to assuming that a “digital platform” will adequately support specific  targeted needs.

As with “Cloud” and “Big Data,” the rise of new paradigms like “Digital” bring with them a host of buzzword laden over-simplifications that should be scrutinized to ensure that the organization understands how the new paradigm will impact the industry and the bank’s business.  Once the opportunities and threats are understood, a Winning Digital Strategy should not allow the buzzword laden over-simplifications to dominate the conversation, but instead will support the development of an incisive and clearly delineated assessment of needs followed by executable activities that add value.

-Clay Almy (