Developing Long vs. Short-term Digital Strategies: Part 1

Digital Chess Board

It has become increasingly important for financial institutions to offer a modern digital banking experience to consumers. Despite all the buzz around digital transformation, there are many misconceptions about what this term entails and how extensive it really is. Financial institutions can no longer view digital transformation as a one-off project or a single box to check. Instead, digital must be an ongoing priority with dedicated resources, employees and strategy.

The financial institutions that are making the most successful strides with digital are those developing and implementing a comprehensive, long-term digital strategy that will provide them with the configurability and scalability they need today and well into the future. And, it's crucial that this initiative isn't confined to a single person or department; there should be buy-in and excitement from the entire organization for a digital strategy to be optimally effective.

When evaluating their digital strategy, financial institutions are often guilty of getting caught up in the short-term or 'band-aid' fixes instead of focusing on their long-term plans. While a seamless, sophisticated UX/UI is necessary and should receive attention, there are other aspects of a digital strategy that banks must consider and plan for as their institutions grow and evolve.

Short gain, long pain

With consumers' high expectations and desire for immediate access to everything, financial institutions are often tempted to add features and functionality that meet today's needs but may not necessarily align with future goals. For instance, it may make sense to add a P2P solution that easily integrates with your digital banking platform because it is convenient, but this may not be the best move for the long-term. Another short-term move that proves tempting for banks and credit unions is implementing flashy user interfaces without properly updating the backend technology as well. This will only cause more work and headache down the road.

Strive for scalability

When considering their digital strategy, financial institutions must prioritize scalability. At the rate at which the industry is evolving and customer preferences are changing, institutions must be able to easily adapt to quickly introduce new capabilities and manage growth without encountering bandwidth issues that compromise the customer or member experience. Whether financial institutions are growing organically or through M&A, which continues to be especially active, their digital platforms must be able to seamlessly support the influx of new customers or members.

Financial institutions must take control of their digital destiny and implement a long-term digital strategy so that they can meet consumers' evolving wants and needs now and in the future. Check out next week's blog for Part Two of the digital strategy blog series as we discuss the other aspects banks and credit unions must consider: promoting digital across the institution and maintaining a distinct level of control