Developing Long vs. Short-Term Digital Strategies: Part II

Chess Game Digital Data
Savvy financial institutions have realized that to remain relevant in the increasingly competitive marketplace, they must be able to offer a seamless, intuitive digital banking experience. This doesn't mean simply completing a one-time project, but rather implementing digital as an ongoing priority and enterprise wide strategy. 

In last week's blog, we covered the dangers of institutions becoming caught up int he short-term Band-Aid fixes when considering their digital strategy; such an approach just causes more work in the long run. We also discussed why it's essential for banks and credit unions to ensure their digital strategy is scalable. With consumer expectations higher than ever, institutions must be positioned to quickly introduce new capabilities and manage growth without running into bandwidth issues or disrupting service.  

However, these aspects are only a couple of the important pieces of the digital transformation puzzle. For banks and credit unions to realize the full potential and benefits of a strong digital strategy, they must also consider how to incorporate digital into the organizations' culture and maintain optimal levels of control.

Facilitating a digital culture

It's crucial that digital is adopted and promoted across the entire financial institution; digital transformation is most successful when everyone from the CEO to the front-line tellers are bought in and excited about digital. To help solidify further unity, customers and employees should be on the same technology platform to ensure experiences, interactions and branding consistent. Such an approach even supports economies of scale, helping banks and credit unions grow with efficiencies and confidence. 

Designating a senior-level employee with decision making power to take ultimate ownership of the organization's digital strategy is another critical best practice for infusing digital into culture. This individual should not only be planning for the next year or two, he or she should be researching, strategizing and planning for a digital strategy that will effectively carry the institution into the next 5-10 years. All products across the branch, not just mobile and online banking, must be evaluated on how they fit into future consumer preferences, business priorities and market demands. 

Maintaining a distinct level of control

Financial institutions must be able to make updates and changes to their platform as needed - without being at the mercy of someone else's timeline. By leveraging a flexible platform built on modern technology such as APIs and SDKs, banks and credit unions will be well equipped to frequently introduce new features and functionality. Time is of the essence; if financial institutions aren't able to deliver an intuitive, modern experience, customers and members will not hesitate to find an institution or third party that will. Rapid, continuous innovation should be a key priority for any institution's digital strategy. 

While financial institutions often make the mistake of viewing digital transformation as a tactic or one-off technology choice, forward looking institutions are realizing that a digital strategy must be much broader and more encompassing than simply implementing a new point solution or platform. Banks and credit unions that prioritize long term goals and scalability, infuse digital into all levels of the institution and culture and that maintain control will be better positioned to compete and thrive in the digital future.