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Successful Digital Change for Financial Institutions

Nov 04, 2018

Financial institutions of all sizes are transforming their digital assets to meet client needs, keep up with evolving regulations, and safeguard their financial and data assets. Many believe that once they find the perfect technology solution to one or more of these challenges, the work is over. But without consistent leadership support, effective communications, and change management, the likelihood of reaching adoption and investment goals is proving to be very low for many institutions.

Watching a technology implementation fail is frustrating, and it makes you realize how crucial change management is to helping your institution and teams become more effective and efficient. Your technology solution is only as good as the number of people fully adopting it.

Seven Benefits of Change Management

Wipfli recently has been working on technology implementation including our Wipfli Connect for Banking solution and change management projects with organizations planning and executing strategic growth and quality initiatives. A few of the many benefits they have seen when charting a clear course of action around change include:

  1. Understanding change readiness and culture barriers before experiencing them
  2. Aligning the right resources and skills to handle team and individual transitions
  3. Helping leaders and managers feel confident and prepared during change
  4. Reducing the amount of rework, customizations, or add-ons coming from out-of-the-loop users
  5. Increasing ownership and accountability for shifts in roles and responsibilities
  6. Improving employee morale and consumer satisfaction
  7. Realizing more technology ROI, faster

Navigating Culture to Ensure Change

As with many financial institutions navigating today’s technology environment, yours is likely dealing with large doses of compliance, leadership, growth, and culture change simultaneously. To ensure your unique mix of initiatives and subcultures are taken into account, it’s critical to take a diagnostic and inclusive approach to applying change interventions.

One way to successfully navigate culture during technology change is to identify and empower technology leaders and early adopters throughout your institution. “Sponsor mapping” is one important tool to analyze organizational charts and discover who the most influential employees are in order to foster effective change agents. Follow up the mapping process with valuable face-to-face time to address where administration, support, and front-line employees are relative to their desire for and knowledge of technology change. Finally, involve early adopters and tech influencers in each step of the transformation.

Changing cultural norms and employee expectations around technology doesn’t happen overnight. To achieve consistently high adoption rates without burning people out, or having them revert quickly back to the status quo, you will need a long-term plan. Begin with tracking and celebrating a few key short-term wins. Keep the momentum moving forward by recognizing and consistently reinforcing digital behaviors that support your technology goals. Finally, and where most organizations miss the mark, your leaders need to identify where resistance is coming from, be open to dealing with it constructively, and ensure that they are reinforcing as much positive progress as they are troubleshooting missteps and issues.

Reduce Stress and Increase Confidence

Getting to a new technology paradigm is a challenge in and of itself. The people element of technology change requires diligence and dedication through the life cycle of multiple projects, including follow-on support and long-term sponsorship. Keeping stakeholders informed is a first step, but dropping the ball by failing to reinforce individual, team, or consumer benefits can torpedo the best-managed tech projects. Core employees and highly engaged consumers who mean everything to your daily success also tend to be resistant to changes that threaten stability and past success. Technology implementations that achieve return on financial investments are the ones that dedicate time and resources in an intentional way to navigate the human element of change.

Does your financial institution need guidance and support in implementing new technology change management? Wipfli can help. Contact us to learn more.