Channels

10:08 AM
Charlene Raytek, Siegelvision
Charlene Raytek, Siegelvision
News
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Four Reasons to Simplify Before You Digitize

Business leaders don’t ask what technology can do for them; rather, they ask what they and technology can do together.

First, let me state that I’m largely in favor of companies who are moving “all things paper” to digital. However, I have some doubts that financial services organizations are getting the full benefit of technology solutions. A case in point: Recently, a Fortune 100 company implemented a robust technology platform to shift printed customer materials to a digital environment. Long after the business goals were defined and months after proof of concept testing was successfully completed, the company hit a snag on the way to implementation. The moment of panic arrived as the team recognized that its existing communications were being replicated in a digital format, but weren’t being truly improved or streamlined. And while cost savings metrics and technology ROI would likely please management, the light bulb went off around the table as our team at Siegelvision summarized it: “Simplifying changes what it is. Digitizing changes where it is.” Great projects always include a diverse team of players—business partners, technologists, finance and legal—rowing in the same direction. It’s rare that a technology solution can’t add value or long-term capabilities. But let’s raise the bar for tech programs. Let’s set some bigger expectations beyond conversion timelines and cheaper document management costs. Let’s provide customers with: -- Easier access to important data

-- More insights and patterns across data

-- Something they don’t know about their interests or relationship with your organization

-- Solutions to nagging service problems, caused by incomplete and confusing information that typically raises more questions than it answers

Missed the conversion train? Now what?

If you’ve recently been through a technology upgrade and haven’t achieved the true impact of simplification, you’re not alone. Increasingly, companies will have to periodically reassess the relevance and quality of their digital communications. Beyond the technology platform implementation, market leaders recognize that communications are organic and evolving and CMOs, CIOs and others business leaders share responsibility for getting communications right.

If you’re considering new technology to give your organization an edge—whether it’s cost, control or capabilities—don't skip the simplification:

Four reasons to simplify before you digitize:

-- Seek out and eliminate redundancy before you begin writing system requirements. If you’re focusing on how quickly you can convert (paper to digital), without squeezing out the inefficiencies of what you’re converting, you’re missing the best part.

-- Build smarter communications. Identify slight variations that convey minor nuances and build robust templates that contain customer-specific variables. Not only does it provide more relevant information to customers, but it also simplifies how business, legal and technology staff can organize workflow, providing savings into the future. You’ll maintain fewer versions that work harder.

-- Eliminate one-size-fits-all generic information and transform it into customized information that underscores the value of your customer relationship. Seize this pre-implementation moment to trap the boilerplate and the monotonous. Instead, refresh your customer service mission to reviewing your corporate identity and voice guidelines. Remember that each and every document and interaction is an opportunity to build your brand.

-- Test before you implement. Without a true commitment to clarity and simplicity, you may be tempted to short-cut research with customers. Our findings have definitively shown that sources of confusion and complexity can be precisely pinpointed with rigorous customer research. More to the point, each iterative draft becomes more effective and customer-focused, saving extensive costs (customer service, claims, reprocessing, etc.) in perpetuity.

Industry leaders understand that technology is an enabler, but never the communications driver. A $117 million example is Simple, the online bank that distinguished itself from traditional banks by re-imagining how rich transaction data could drive powerful budgeting, spending in one account, accessible via web and mobile. BBVA acquired Simple in February 2014 to aggressively grow its base the U.S. and globally. Simple’s technology interface and data mining is smart, but the clarity of its customer-empowerment philosophy is its heart. Business leaders don’t ask what technology can do for them; rather, they ask what they and technology can do together. That requires a clear strategic vision to guide the entire enterprise across business lines, technology organizations and service. Charlene Raytek is a Senior Strategy Director at Siegelvision.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Byurcan
50%
50%
Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
4/16/2014 | 1:28:26 PM
re: Four Reasons to Simplify Before You Digitize
That is very true. While consumers generally do want the convenience of digital channels (except my great aunt, who still goes to the branch to buy CDs) they may not want or like every latest cutting edge thing the 'experts' say they want.
craytek
50%
50%
craytek,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2014 | 9:47:18 PM
re: Four Reasons to Simplify Before You Digitize
So true. There's often an assumption that customers already fully understand all the product nuance (they don't) and that certain online or mobile conventions are intuitive (often they're not). Being confused by a few product issues and a few technology issues can be a lethal combination, or enough to abandon transactions and go back to conventional channels. Thanks, Jonathan
craytek
50%
50%
craytek,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2014 | 9:42:30 PM
re: Four Reasons to Simplify Before You Digitize
Thanks, Kelly. Yes, what we're seeing is often a solid first attempt to improve communications and leverage new tech. However, like most communications, they evolve, change, and even become more complicated -- as do the products and services offered by companies. What's needed is a keen, ongoing focus to balance the content and the technology. It can't be a one-and-done approach. Maximizing, as you point out, is an iterative process.
Jonathan_Camhi
50%
50%
Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
4/11/2014 | 7:25:16 PM
re: Four Reasons to Simplify Before You Digitize
Yeah we've seen instances where banks might roll out something new and innovative and it takes a while for customers to adopt it because they don't understand the tool. The banks need to be conscious of that all the time.
Kelly22
50%
50%
Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
4/10/2014 | 5:59:45 PM
re: Four Reasons to Simplify Before You Digitize
You spotlight a key point here, Charlene: improved communications can maximize the impact of new technologies. The way consumers communicate has changed, just as the ways they use tech. Building smarter, customized communications can help businesses make the most of their tech investments.
Register for Bank Systems & Technology Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Bank Systems & Technology Dec. 2, 2014
BS&T's 2014 Elite 8 executives are leading their banks to success, whether it involves leveraging the cloud, modernizing core systems, or transforming into digital enterprises.
Slideshows
Video
Bank Systems & Technology Radio
Archived Audio Interviews
Join Bank Systems & Technology Associate Editor Bryan Yurcan, and guests Karen Massey and Jerry Silva from IDC Financial Insights, for a conversation about the firm's 11th annual FinTech rankings.