It is true that 9 out of 10 of the banks and insurance companies interviewed for a worldwide study are convinced of the necessity of digital change. And 61% of the financial service providers participating in the survey also plan – in response to new technologies, growing competition and changing customer expectations – to move away from their traditional business model and the exclusive sale of their own financial products.
Determining the current status
But such surveys do not reveal much about the current status in each individual company and where it needs to take the leverage to successfully tackle and continuously deepen the digital transformation. A target/actual analysis is nothing unusual. But given that banks and insurance companies are subject to special regulatory provisions and conditions and must observe strict compliance rules, the change here is even more complicated than in other industries. At the same time, the widespread bonus systems encourage lone fighters in financial sales and most traditional companies have rigid hierarchies that need to be broken down first. In addition, IT systems that have often grown over many decades are no longer up to today‘s requirements. The industry is also sometimes a little hesitant to implement new technological developments, while at the neobanks – whether young start-ups or digital giants such as Google and Amazon – digitization is already in their DNA.
Compensating for a lack of experience
Most conventional banks and insurance companies, which are now becoming software companies themselves and have to build digital business models, lack experience in this area. This is why we at ERNI have developed a Digital Maturity Fitness Check, which can help with an initial assessment. It can be individually adapted and carried out for each customer and their requirements. This analysis of the digital maturity level is basically based on five pillars, which we look at in detail. Starting with the basis of the business, the status of the IT systems and up to the most important: market and customer orientation. However, we also examine existing digital activities, the market and the value chain as well as the corporate and management culture. We consider this holistic and customer-centric approach to be extremely important. After all, many companies think that they have already done enough by using a tool for agile working without changing their business processes and mindset at all levels.
However, that’s not the case. We know and see best practices from the industry and can therefore compare where our customer stands and where there are still areas of action where change is necessary. Overall, banks and insurance companies worldwide have already tackled a lot in this area, but there is still a lot to do. On this path of digital transformation, we consider ourselves experienced
travel companions and coaches for our own change management.
Nothing is imposed on the customer
How do we proceed? Above all, we do not impose anything on our customers, but advise them individually. Let’s bear in mind that not all five pillars are always equally important. For example, if a company has only ever sold its products from a stationary location, but now wants to improve its web presence and sell them digitally, then customer focus and digital initiatives will have a higher priority in terms of analysis and consulting. Or if a certain level of maturity already exists, for example, if insurance policies can already be taken out online, but problems arise in developing this approach, we focus more on corporate culture and leadership.
We conduct our Digital Maturity Fitness Check on the basis of structured interviews. Since we interview different people in the company, we get reliable results and the customer receives a comprehensive overview of his digital maturity level as an evaluation. As a Swiss consulting firm, we at ERNI are not committed to any particular method or tool and are therefore completely neutral. Our customer engages us in order to develop further – in this way we want to help him and show him how he can go his own way. Since the financial services industry today has many challenges to overcome – you often cannot see the forest for the trees. Our job is therefore to make the entire forest and every single tree visible again.