How transformational is your transformation agenda?

We’ve written before about “The Art Of The Possible” – that is opening your mind to the possibilities of what data can do for your organisation and pursuing ambitious outcomes, rather than settling for mediocrity. It is a phrase that is often used in consulting circles but it is one which is particularly appropriate for data innovation and data-driven reinvention within organisations. Because the question falls less towards the limitations of data but rather towards the ambition of organisations and the internal capabilities they have to transform their businesses through data.


Financial services organisations everywhere have registered the opportunities presented by technology and are attuned to the dangers of standing still. Many have invested in exploring what data can do for them. But all too often, they fail to realise the benefits of wholesale digital transformation. 


The way that organisations pursue transformation is often counter-productive. Where are they going wrong? And how can they unlock the power of data at scale? 


The problem with MVPs 


Many organisations are fooled into thinking that continuous innovation means conducting experiments and deploying MVPs. This provides value for teams and departments, but it’s hard to contextualise within the broader business. Too often, data is relegated to projects, rather than firm-wide programmes.  That is not for a second to dismiss their value or the vast knowledge gains that rapid experimentation and innovation labs have at companies. But one does keep their Ferrari in the garage and the value of rapid experimentation and innovation labs cannot be explored until the open road is accessed so to speak. 


The question is how much investment is needed – and how far do transformation initiatives need to go in order to create truly transformational value across the firm? CFOs might baulk at the numbers so departmental heads continue to play it safe in the shallows… until a disruptor ushers in a new wave of innovation and an accompanying business model that blows incumbents out of the water. Sometimes, the most dangerous thing you can do is nothing. 


And transformation doesn’t have to be mind-bogglingly complex or scary. Thinking in systems is one of the possibilities, but so too is leveraging the cloud to adopt a modular approach. Identifying Critical Data Elements (CDEs) can enable firms to make big plays in relative areas and not feel like they’re drowning in data.  


Time to think big 


We’ve explored how the “data project” mentality leads to successful pilots which feel like a success, but aren’t coherently joined up. But this is a symptom of a wider problem. 


Often, the traditional Hub and Spoke Data Functions end up siloing skills in the organisation, or you end up with a Centre of Excellence that can’t keep up with demand for innovation. 


Firms must experiment in order to thrive in a data reinvention landscape. And you cannot afford to think small.  


Innovation must be scalable, and that requires strategic planning. It helps to enlist the help of those who have implemented wholesale digital transformation programmes across teams, departments, and entire territories. 


Banks understand the value of data. But often fail to pursue it strategically. Frankly, a mindset shift is required in order to change this status-quo because the scale required to enable Data-driven Reinvention is unlike anything companies have encountered in the past. 


A question of scale 


The successful pursuit of Data-driven Reinvention isn’t just about understanding the scale of the organisation. It’s about the scale of the imagination 


To fully leverage data, banks need to stop doing data projects, and seek to reinvent existing processes. If you live in the land of old business models and ways of delivering, you limit your ability to scale. To truly exist as a digitally savvy organisation, ready to challenge and grow in a hyper-competitive market, you need to change.  


Massive, determined action 


Here at Mudano, we help clients do just that. We prototype new business models whilst establishing a flexible but accessible data foundation, building a foundation with one eye on the future of the industry to have real confidence in future-fit. We pursue continual data innovation, unlocking value in existing business models, making business teams data teams, and unlocking their ideas to directly support customers. We do this by enabling, encouraging and incentivising data democratisation, ensuring that leadership roles are filled by those who live and breathe data and Al.  


Current transformation agendas will not reinvent banking. The truth is that you don’t achieve transformational change through incremental shifts – you do it through massive, determined action. New scale requires new thinking, a connected and transformative way of doing things. The time to challenge what is expected is now. 

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