Author: Agur Jõgi, CTO, Bigbank
Helping People through Digital Transformation
At Bigbank, we recently transitioned from manual to digital processes to achieve a better experience for customers of our credit and lending products. For us, and many like us who have embarked upon a significant change programme, it was a learning experience. An overhaul of business processes and systems is about more than just operations; critical to success is nurturing teams through the change.
We had two expectations of the outcome of our digital transformation:
- Fully automated, faster credit risk decisions
- Configuring rules behind credit risk decisions without IT involvement.
With Provenir’s single digital platform that automates data inputs and streamlines application and underwriting processes, we achieved this. Now, if a customer fits Bigbank’s profile the automated yes or no answer takes just milliseconds instead of days. But with such digitization comes a complete overhaul of culture, skills and routines. A new way of working impacts heavily on individuals and teams so they must be supported as they adapt, through effective training and communications.
My five tips for preparing for change are:
1. Scope the impact of change on the whole organization – Automating credit risk decisions doesn’t only impact IT and underwriting. Almost the whole organization is involved, including compliance (who will explain the change to the regulator), customer account managers (who will no longer have to ask many of the old questions), customer call centres, payments teams and so on.
2. Appreciate the past and respect people’s feelings – people can feel undermined by change and have an emotional reaction to ‘throwing out’ what they understand. If the ‘old way’ isn’t good enough, what does it say about their work? It’s very important to recognize and call out the achievements and successes teams have enjoyed by working in the only way they’ve had up to now. Change doesn’t negate any of that.
3. Respect people’s expertise – when migrating from an almost fully manual process to an almost fully automated one in a regulated environment, it’s not unusual for people to give reasons as to why something can’t be automated or why they can’t give up some controls. Listen to, respect and address this input during the engagement process.
4. Anticipate difference through the change process – everyone’s learning curve is different. Even after much two-way engagement has delivered the stage where team members are on-board with the change, each person will learn new processes at his or her own pace. Check (and check again) that every team member understands exactly what the new way of working will look like.
5. Expect ‘launch’ to be the beginning, not the end – for change managers, it’s hard to believe that not everyone has lived the metamorphosis with them! As everyone else has been busy keeping the wheels turning with the old processes right up to changeover day, expect that some will only realize change has happened on launch day. Plan in advance for reinforcement communications and training.
Technology can transform credit risk management to help meet today’s customer expectations of simplicity, speed and reliability. Introducing change to gain these benefits is a tricky – albeit worthwhile – undertaking. Ultimately the success (or otherwise) will hinge on individuals and teams. A supportive rollout is essential when transitioning to digital for business growth.
In case you missed it, you can read part one of the Advice on Going Digital series here: Decisions in Milliseconds: Advice on Going Digital