Globally, new financial mandates and regulations are pushing businesses to adopt and integrate new systems and processes quickly or risk penalties. Even if not mandated, the need to implement digital finance initiatives to meet today’s digital world is stronger than ever, as businesses risk falling behind consumer demands and losing their competitive edge.
However, the process of digital transformation is often intimidating and all too many times has limited success without proper planning or mindset. With this in mind, Sovos’ Chief Technology Officer, Eric Lefebvre, discusses how businesses in the world of fintech can effectively execute their digital transformation, and how to prevent failure.
What are the signs of a strong technology partnership?
Eric Lefebvre (EL): A strong start for many businesses would be to focus on their technology partnerships. With so many vendors out there, promising capabilities that go far beyond your business’s digital transformation goals, it can be hard to weigh up. IT teams, therefore, should focus on three key tick boxes to ensure they have set a strong foundation to success.
Experience – Your provider’s focus should be on experience; that is a focused user experience for employees and customers that offers easy access to business solutions.
Scalability – Businesses embarking on a digital transformation journey are likely to be adopting measures to support growth. When deciding on a technology partnership, it is crucial to ensure that your partner will be able to assist and advise of this growth and essentially has the right expertise to help you meet your business goals.
Security – This may seem obvious, but when partnering with a provider, you will be granting them access to sensitive business and customer data, so it is essential to ensure that this is in no way at risk. As technological capabilities evolve, inevitably so do cyber threats, so ensuring a potential technology partner is on top of these evolutions and is dependable is crucial.
How can businesses protect themselves against digital transformation failure?
EL: For businesses adopting new financial technology, be that to comply with tax mandates or remain simply competitive, treating the transition as a business process change rather than an IT project will set the project up for success!
Of course, your IT department will take a large amount of responsibility in the project, however, your organization will need to build out processes which continue to innovate and are flexible enough to restore as technology evolves and external influences and customer demands shift. So, ensuring leaders from across the business are on board and collaborating is crucial.
In the world of fintech, it’s no secret that technological innovations are constantly happening and there will always be another disrupter appearing in the market. While it’s easy to get distracted by the constant external change, it is important to remember that while technology is the enabler in digital transformation, focusing on how business processes are changing will ensure longevity.
How can businesses strengthen their IT teams?
EL: While I’ve already pointed out that placing the entirety of a digital transformation project on the shoulders of your business’ IT team is not well advised; a strong IT department is still very important for businesses to execute transformations and fulfil company visions. CIOs and IT department heads should spearhead this by ensuring they are able to recognize the signs that their team is in need of internal change, and if necessary, lead the implementation of this change. Common delays, internal conflict or poor morale, and issues with keeping up with industry demands are all signs that could indicate a need for an internal reshuffle.
When embarking on a digital transformation journey, and attempting to reach your business’ goals, CIOs should provide vision and long-term strategy with clear goals and objectives that can accelerate the digitalization process.
The author, Eric Lefebvre, is Chief Technology Officer at Sovos.