Why Digital Must be an Ongoing Strategy, Not a Single Project

In Progress Construction SignMany financial institutions are already budgeting and planning strategic initiatives for 2020, and there's no doubt that digital remains a top priority among bank and credit union leadership. Major retailers and tech companies are offering a seamless, intuitive digital experience for consumers, so why wouldn't they expect the same from their financial institution? Consumer expectations are higher than ever before, and banks and credit unions must determine how to best meet their evolving needs. 

The most successful banks and credit unions understand that digital is not simply an experience on a device but rather an ongoing strategy that must be promoted and adopted across the entire institution, from the C-suite to the teller line. If institutions fail to provide a competitive digital experience, they risk becoming irrelevant. 

Securing buy-in from the entire organization

An effective digital strategy must be pervasive throughout the organization, and the understanding and execution of digital must be aligned across departments. If the technology platforms, branding and organizational structure are different for each different across a bank or credit union, it will likely result in high costs and complexity for the institutions for confusion or customers and members. 

All employees should be on the same page for what the digital strategy is, how it impacts customer and member service and what that means for the organizational structure. Creating a singular brand and leveraging the same technology platform for the entire institutions will enable financial institutions to better serve their customers and members and operate more efficiently. When the digital strategy is clear and consistent across all divisions, including consumer, business, lending and treasury, institutions are more likely to excel. 

Designating a digital delegate

Not only should a bank or credit union promote digital across the organization, institutions should also designate an executive to be devoted solely to digital. Appointing a senior-level employee with decision making power to take ultimate ownership of a financial institutions's digital strategy will enable the financial institution to more successfully execute pertinent digital initiatives across the bank or credit union. 

Too often, digital is assigned to an employee with competing priorities, such as the chief technology officer or chief information officer. However, this critical area needs its own advocate to maintain ownership of the overarching strategy and plan for the years to come. The digital delegate should be responsible for monitoring trends in the digital banking landscape, understanding customers' and members' voices and evaluating how all products may fit into future consumer expectations and preferences.

Debunking a common misconception

Banks and credit unions often make the mistake of viewing digital transformation as a separate tactic or one-off technology choice. However, a digital strategy must be a much broader and more high level than simply implementing a new digital platform. It's essential that banks and credit unions create a comprehensive plan for how they will address digital today and in the 5 or 10 years to come. By developing long-term, ongoing and consistently evaluate and updated digital strategy and establishing commitment across the entire organization, financial institutions will be better equipped to meet customer and member expectations and remain relevant.