Despite years of discussion, understanding what digital journey or transformation means for most companies remains a daunting challenge. Leaders put in charge of a digital plan feel pulled in many different directions, with competing demands from IT, Regulatory, and Business Operations. Without a clear understanding, sometimes wrong people are often put in charge, with the wrong resources, and the wrong KPIs, setting the digital journey of either automation or transformation project up for falling short of initial expectations.
The key to cutting through the confusion is to see that digital transformation is not a single thing, but a phased journey with differing goals depending on your functional needs, company overall goals and digital maturity. It is time to evolve our view of digital transformation, from a monolithic concept to understand that digital journey means many different things for different Regulatory teams of the organization. Doing so will help you articulate what kind of digital steps you’re really talking about, and plan accordingly.
Two key areas to focus to simplify the journey and cut through conflicting demands are: IT uplift, digitizing Regulatory functions. These are part of most companies’ digital journey. But without understanding how they are different, it’s confusing to understand what to do next or how to invest the resources, tools, goals, exec management sponsors; and KPIs required for success are totally different in each case. Being clear about their differing demands can help you make smart tradeoffs and clear progress.
Below are 2 Keys on how to invest properly to set yourself up for success. Which Key is the right starting point for Regulatory depends on your context, needs, but also your digital maturity.
The Two Keys
|What it entails||Modernizing existing IT||Optimizing existing business|
Ecosystem of Tools
|Cost of Reduction
|Capabilities Required||IT Architects
|KPIs||New tools, Reduced costs, improved capabilities, employee satisfaction||Savings in time, people and money, improved customer satisfaction|
For many companies, digital journey starts with upgrading the company’s IT infrastructure as well as mobile infrastructure, data lakes, and the cloud. Essentially, this is an opportunity to use budget allocated to “digital initiatives” to modernize IT and communications platforms within your enterprise. When completed, IT uplift provides your company access to up-to-date tools that offer increased employee efficiency, lower IT maintenance costs and increased employee satisfaction.
Some companies are already deep into this journey, but many other companies struggle with questions about how to upgrade the digital infrastructure. Often this is the first step on the digital journey. It requires IT architects and time, but promises up-to-date platforms with more effective tools to serve customers at lower cost of maintenance.
Digitizing Regulatory Functions
A second critical Key of digital journey, often tackled earlier in the digital transformation journey, is using digital for optimizing, simplifying, and rationalizing existing Regulatory processes. The goal here is to use digital tools, including more advanced technologies such as Data Lakes, RIM, Automation, AI/ML to streamline business growth.
In its most basic form, this Key can mean swapping out manual activities with digital ones. But other times it involves re-architecting any existing systems to meet the needs of today’s customers. This is more than just swapping manual processes for digital ones; it is about re-architecting the organization and the digital operations to serve Regulatory customers Internal and external) better.
Digitizing Regulatory functions is a fundamental Key of digital journey in the sense that, without it, your company will be left behind by more efficient companies. A company may begin its digital journey by digitizing regulatory processes and as it matures, re-architect processes entirely. As a company re-architects their regulatory processes, they also start to unlock more efficiency/productivity gaining possibilities.
Because of the need to understand how the business works, digitizing regulatory function often fares better when led by the regulatory heads. It does require time and technology but the benefits, measured by the central KPIs, are savings in time, money, and people to solve business challenges and serve end customers much better.
The Digital Journey
Digital journey takes time, and is a series of evolutionary, and occasionally disruptive, steps. Like in any journey, you need to decide where to go first. Typically, companies begin with IT uplift and digitizing functions/operations. But both Keys are important to digital journey, so they may happen in another order. The key to success is simply getting clarity that digital journey is not one thing, but rather many different things. Having the right leader, resources, software technology/tools and measures of success for the journey towards each different Key can contribute greatly to success.