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Three tips for kicking off your banking digital transformation

January 11, 2022By
Banking digital transformation

With a new year comes the start of new projects. Teams are looking to hit the ground running after the holidays and if you have your initiative and budget approved, it’s time to begin your banking digital transformation.

Your team has runway, a mandate, and anywhere from six months to two years to get this done–now what?

Now is the time to shift from thinking “can we do this?” to “how do we do this?” Fortunately, the team at Traction on Demand is here to help, and we’re experts in assisting our partners through the implementation process and beyond. These are our three tips for successfully kicking off your digital transformation:

1. Define your MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

At this early point your banking digital transformation, there isn’t one singular thing you should do first, but rather a group of things that have to be done to get your project kicked off on the right foot.

Dan’s Hot Take: Do this first(ish) - define your MVP goals.

Many of us have heard the expression “on time, on budget, or on scope: pick two.”. When we kick off a project, we have happy thoughts of being the magical unicorn that is able to successfully navigate all three and deliver a perfect project. The reality is there are a multitude of variables that are constantly changing, and your ability to navigate these are based on your preparedness, your dexterity, and yes, a fair bit of luck.

One cannot really change one’s luck. Preparedness, on the other hand, is well in your control.

Prepare by sculpting what “minimal success” looks like, or what we like to call a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). What is the absolute lowest level of functionality the project scope can support in order to be acceptable to the business? Start by creating a list that details:

  1. Must have: The removal of any one of these functions, by definition, makes the project a failure.
  2. Need to have: Next, list off the set of features that you could—conceptually—make do without, but would cause painful or inefficient user experiences, or deferred but valuable functions.
  3. Want to have: Next up, high value-add functions—things that would make lives easier, provide solid business insights, provide incremental value over existing systems, etc. Likely, the big ticket items that you sold the business in the first place on.
  4. Nice to have: Finally, we’re going to add all the other in-scope functionality that we want, things that make lives easier, appearance, UI, and other “quality of life” functions.

This list does two things: it clearly defines your “Minimum Viable Product”—in Agile terms, a collection of all the “must haves.” And it gives you your scope currency; the ability to slough off scope in the “nice to have” and “want to have” in favour of the “must have” and “need to have”.

By creating this list, your team will better understand what’s of critical importance to the delivery of the project, and what’s not. It sets the north star for your project managers to know what has to be delivered, and in what approximate sequence.

The discovery and planning phase of your project should take the elements of this document as a starting point, and be able to determine timeframes and sequencing to better determine when your MVP will be able to be delivered, and what the prerequisites are.

2. Engaging the right stakeholders at the right time

Generally, your contracts are signed by executive or senior management, however “people support the change they help create,”, so a successful banking digital transformation requires a conscious effort to involve stakeholders from all levels of the organization.

Change management is a keystone to a successful implementation and positive change adoption will involve a cross-section of employees from all impacted departments and levels participating in various phases of the implementation. Salesforce touches most, if not all departments, therefore buy-in is cultivated through participation in creating their Salesforce platform that will bolster your change adoption and help facilitate a smooth launch.

The project team is sandwiched between senior leadership and all the other departments and staff who will use the platform. That team’s main goal is a successful and sustained implementation, therefore creating a plan regarding who to involve—when and how—should be a top priority in order to meet the requirements of those stakeholders.

  1. Executive Steer Committee: This team is composed of executive leadership, the project sponsor, and the project manager from both the client and the implementation partner. Each session, the committee discusses a high-level update for the current state of the project including progress, blockers, scope changes, sentiment, budget, and risks. With a cadence of every 3-4 weeks, this keeps executives involved and in the know so they can support the teams under them.
  2. Line of Business Leaders (LOB): These folks will be both using the system and leading those who will live in it daily. Their buy-in is critical for ongoing support of your Salesforce initiatives so having them involved from the beginning of your implementation serves them and the project team well. They’ll be informed why certain decisions were made during the project and can therefore better answer questions raised by their teams. Also, with the attendance in elections, they’ll have a strong say in how the system is built so it will adequately support their department needs.
  3. End-Users: These stakeholders should be deeply involved in the user acceptance testing and champion network.
    1. User acceptance testing (UAT) is functional testing of what your Salesforce team has built. These folks will be the first to get their hands in the system and will be the first to give you feedback. Since they are the ultimate end-user, their adoption is critical for success. Having them in this stage of the implementation will support your change adoption efforts and will act as a litmus test for how their other peers will react.
    2. A champion network is a group of movers and shakers, super users, and influencers that will act as the project team’s eyes and ears on the ground, providing live support during the go-live. Typically these employees were also UAT testers—sometimes trainers—and are considered super-users. Their perception and promotion of the project will influence all their peers from their respective departments and locations.

Ultimately you are learning, teaching, and informing expectations of all these stakeholders through various parts of the project cycle. Executives are kept informed throughout, LOB leaders are involved in the design, and end-users are testing the design and promoting it along with the first two groups within the organization. Together, they create a powerhouse to drive your implementation to the finish line and beyond.

3. Building a RACI

RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. It will define who is doing what during each stage of your banking digital transformation. It’s important to ensure your team understands what role and responsibilities they’re each expected to play to make the project a success. Preparing a RACI chart before getting underway is an easy task that helps your team work efficiently and effectively together to avoid confusion and re-work.

  • Responsible: Who will lead completing the deliverable or task?
  • Accountable: Who is ultimately answerable for the deliverable or task, has final say on decisions, and signs off the work as completed?
  • Consulted: Who needs to provide input to ensure requirements and acceptance criteria are sufficient and decisions address essential considerations?
  • Informed: Who needs to be kept up-to-date on decisions, deliverables, and project progress?

The key to a good RACI is keep-it-simple and not to overthink it.

Start by mapping the project team and stakeholders to the core elements of your project— phases, deliverables, and main tasks/events—to create a matrix. Add team and stakeholders project function across the top (e.g. sponsor, PM, SME, etc.) and elements down the side. Next, define the team member’s/stakeholder’s role for each element, either R, A, C, or I. Use functional leads for larger projects and leave the role blank if it is not applicable to the function.

As best practice, there should only be one person Responsible and one Accountable for each element (one person can wear both hats if applicable) and keep those Consulted and Informed to a minimum for efficiency. It’s important that the person Accountable is empowered to make the necessary decisions and fulfill the role.

A RACI not only helps ensure that management of the project is aligned and roles are clear, it also provides a quick way to check responsibilities and that workload is balanced across the team.

It starts with strategy

Banking digital transformations are rarely a one-and-done event. Use the above approaches and best practices established during your initial project to continue the momentum beyond the first release and provide ongoing, incremental value to your organization.

If you need help getting started, our strategic banking team brings together your transformation stakeholders to develop a vision and plan for your Salesforce investments. We provide tangible outcomes, built from data-driven insights, to build roadmaps with executive alignment, that keep the focus on customer and member needs.

Got a vision? We’ll help you get there.

We’ll assist in driving change through strategies founded on adaptability, innovation, and resilience.

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