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3 reasons why digital transformation is all about people

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3 reasons why digital transformation is all about people

By Greg Thompson, Director of Change Management at nCino

To keep pace with today’s constantly evolving and competitive business landscape, it’s critical that financial institutions make the technology-supported changes that drive successful digital transformation and organisational growth. A global McKinsey survey found that only 16% of respondents said their organisations’ digital transformation efforts have successfully improved performance and also equipped them to sustain changes in the long term. Implementing technology is only half the mission; ensuring the people within your organisation are receptive and capable of executing change is equally as important.

Too often, financial institutions recruit and hire employees based on specific skills. With technology evolving every day, specific product skills this year may become obsolete the next. Therefore, the most important skill to identify is someone who welcomes change and thrives in an environment of constant change. Without addressing resistance to change, it won’t matter what technology you implement.

Here are some key tips on how to implement a successful digital transformation in your institution, through both the technology you adopt, and the people you employ to drive it forward.

  1. Hire the right people 

Digital transformation is inevitable in banking and to succeed financial institutions must embrace this evolution. But if employees lack the right mindset to change, the digital transformation is unlikely to be truly successful.

With the constant flux of unpredictable and disruptive technologies, it is often difficult to know what skill sets to hire for and in turn, find employees with those skills. Instead, employers are increasingly putting less weight on degree levels and specific tech skills, and instead are looking for employees with a positive outlook and attitude.

New technologies emerge quickly. Those who have the agility to transfer their skills and who are enthusiastic to learn, are arguably as valuable as those who have in-depth knowledge of certain technologies but less experience adapting to changing business processes. It’s a focus on “hiring for attitude, training for skill”—a lesson we have learned at nCino as we embrace enthusiastic learners to drive change.

Employers can teach technical skills and offer training to bring staff up to speed with new technology. But, if you have the right people who can flex, adapt and work effectively with others, you’ll be able to achieve your digital transformation more successfully.

  1. Set the right tone at the top 

Digital transformation is tech-powered but people led, so leadership teams are key to driving success. Part of any successful digital transformation is having buy-in from all levels of the organisation. But it also requires the appropriate ‘tone at the top’ to champion it. Sustainable transformation requires leaders who are visible, vocal, and active in combatting all forms of resistance throughout the transformation.

Setting the right tone at the top includes leaders themselves using the new technology to lead differently. New technologies provide leaders a strategic advantage as real time information about the business is available to ask new questions, celebrate successes, or identify bottlenecks. Cloud-based technologies that empower leaders to lead in new ways also enable employees to see how their work connects with broader organisational objectives.

Effective leaders should formulate a clear vision of the digital transformation and communicate it throughout the organisation on an ongoing basis to engage everyone. Leaders who communicate the change underway frequently with employees are three times more likely to experience a successful digital transformation, according to McKinsey.

Also, a leader’s failure to align the goals of a digital transformation with employee values and behaviours can create additional risks to a business’ culture, such as low morale, if not managed properly. Whereas a comprehensive and collaborative approach can help shift the culture to understand and embrace digital transformation.

A great way for leaders to alleviate concerns is to solicit feedback and engage employees at all levels in the process. This helps build ownership in the change and makes employees more likely to support the transformation, and importantly, champion it.

For instance, traditional financial institutions might engage staff in branches to trial new technology and give feedback throughout the process to bring them onboard early. We partnered with a leading financial institution, which engaged all levels within its business, from the C-suite to those on the front line to work directly with the digital team when it implemented its transformation. Integrating the new system with the front office working alongside the back-end ensured an inclusive culture and long-term change success.

McKinsey reports when employees in key roles are more involved in a digital transformation than they were in past change efforts, a transformation’s success is more likely. 

  1. Empower people to work in new ways 

Digital transformation can significantly help employees in their daily duties. For instance, moving away from manual and routine work and instead allowing them to reduce repetitive tasks and focus on more important and creative tasks. But any change can be daunting, especially when employees aren’t looking at new digital banking tools and software as empowering their jobs, but as threatening the existence of their roles.

Modern digital banking technologies allow those working in financial services to become more productive than ever before. Employers need to regularly remind their teams that even as the digital tools of the trade become more powerful, they’re still only tools. It’s the employees that remain the core of successful businesses.

Blumberg Capital’s recent survey found about half of respondents are ready to embrace new tech, while the other half are scared it will take away their jobs. Despite the majority of employees (72%) understanding that artificial intelligence is intended to cut out the repetitive parts of their role to allow them to focus on the complex and interesting tasks, 81% are so fearful of being replaced that they’re unwilling to hand over their drudge work to technology.

Resistance to change can emerge even if employees embrace the idea of new technology.   In the face of an already heavy workload and multiple concurrent priorities, a dramatic new technology requires training and adapting to a fundamentally new way of performing even the most basic tasks. Constant communication from leaders is critical to keep employees focused on the strategic imperatives driving change, while highlighting a handful of benefits of the new technology for each work team.

Additionally, transformation systems are crucial for institutions to attract the right talent. As digital transformation eliminates the more repetitive and less creative tasks that deter top talent to their organisation– new technology allows banks to adapt and build a people-first, talent-centric organisation.

Digital transformation initiatives often reshape workgroups, job titles, and over the long-time business processes. Organisations need to consider a range of training options for employees to maximise learning effectiveness and create an agile workforce. In fact, McKinsey research shows that those organisations who offer continuous learning as part of their change efforts are more likely than others to report successful digital transformation.

In Summary

With digital transformation’s focus on automation and smart technologies, it may seem somewhat counter-intuitive that people are the key to unlocking its value. Even if the technology is perfectly designed, the ROI the organisation desires from its investment will certainly fall short if people are not prepared for the change. Education and communication are key factors when we are assisting a successful digital transformation for financial institutions, however, getting buy-in is about more than just compliance – it’s about winning people over to a new approach or tool. When leaders actively align and visibly support the transformation, a dramatically better experience is possible for the employee, customer and shareholders.

Business

Nearly 14 Million1 UK adults more likely to spend on Black Friday than they were last year

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Nearly 14 Million1 UK adults more likely to spend on Black Friday than they were last year 1

Yolt launches evolved app to help shoppers save whilst they spend

  • Across the UK, consumers are set to spend £6.4bn on discount days
  • Despite the pandemic, 1 in 5 stated they would see an increase in their spending on Christmas this year, revealing they will be likely to spend £240 more than they spent last year
  • Yolt today launches a brand-new evolution of the smart money app, which aims to help people save whilst they spend, saving a minimum of £416 a year
  • To help people spend smarter this Black Friday, the smart money app Yolt has a host of new features including round up functionality, and cashback offers with a wide range of retailers including John Lewis, Argos, Asos and Domino’s

New research* from Yolt, the award-winning smart money app, reveals that over a quarter (26%) of UK adults have said they are more likely to wait for discount days, such as Black Friday, to do their Christmas shopping than they were last year. In response to the pandemic and to help people shop smartly in the run up to the festive period, Yolt has launched a brand-new evolution of its app designed to help users to save whilst they spend. New features include the Yolt account and virtual Money Jar, as well as new cashback partnerships with the likes of John Lewis, Argos, Asos and Domino’s. The evolved smart money app can be used to save shoppers a minimum of £416** a year.

Despite the challenging economic climate, Yolt’s data insights from the first lockdown period in the UK showed that there were increases of up to 355% on spending in categories such as groceries, online clothing retailers, takeaways, and streaming and gaming services. On top of this, Yolt’s data revealed a change in consumers’ financial priorities – with many attempting to save in lockdown, but 65% not being successful in doing so. Therefore, to enable people to find the right balance in their efforts to save for any uncertainty that lies ahead, but also enjoy discount days such as Black Friday and festivities in the run up to Christmas, Yolt has launched a host of new features uniquely designed to help people save whilst they spend.

The evolved app comes at a time of challenging economic conditions, where more UK consumers are actively seeking discounts to try and balance the books this Christmas. Yolt’s research found that consumers across the UK spend an average £6.4bn on discount days such as Black Friday.

In total, over a third (35%) of UK adults said they would be looking to take advantage of upcoming discount days, with nearly one in five (18%) stating they do all their shopping for Christmas and birthdays on discount days and during sales. UK consumers said they tend to spend over £120 on days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and surprisingly almost one in five (19%) state they will actually see an increase in their spending on Christmas this year, verses last year. Those expecting an increase revealed they will likely spend an average of £240 more on this Christmas when compared to last year.

Concerns around affording Christmas are perhaps leading more people to take advantage of Black Friday deals than in previous years. Almost four in ten (37%) don’t tend to set savings aside for Christmas, and almost a quarter (23%) said they are going to have to dip into savings that weren’t allocated for Christmas this year. Finding the right balance between spending and saving for future uncertainty is going to be an increasing challenge for people during the festive period.

Pauline van Brakel, Chief Product Officer at Yolt, comments: “Given the incredibly challenging times we are facing this year as a result of the pandemic; it’s perhaps unsurprising to see that people are more likely to wait until popular discount days such as Black Friday to help them to spend smart over the festive period.  Savvy spending in the run up to Christmas is always a good idea, and discount days can help ease what is for many a very expensive time of year – having said that, people should try not to overspend and risk getting themselves into debt.”

Pauline continues: “Finding the balance between spending and saving isn’t easy. And whilst it might seem like a difficult time to save right now it is also perhaps more important than ever. We’ve launched an evolved version of the Yolt app to help people save whilst they spend. The app enables people to spend smart by earning them cashback on their purchases at selected retailers and rounding purchases up to the nearest pound. Encouraging users to save is central to the app, not only by spending smartly but also by finding them competitive deals on their household bills and even spotting Christmas bonuses or refunds and prompting users to add them to their virtual savings jar.”

The new Yolt app is available from today, with full access to all UK users on iOS. Android will follow in 2021.

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Christmas isn’t cancelled: European shoppers plan to spend more online this Black Friday

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Christmas isn’t cancelled: European shoppers plan to spend more online this Black Friday 2
  • Half (52%) of European consumers plan to do Christmas shopping around holiday sales, including Black Friday, compared to previous years
  • 60% say they are planning to do most of their Christmas shopping online
  • A third (34%) plan on leaving their Christmas shopping until the last minute in hope of securing bigger discounts

As Black Friday approaches, European consumers are not going to let a turbulent year spoil their Christmas. As shoppers continue to adapt to the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are getting even savvier with their spending. New research from Kaspersky has found half (52%) plan to do more Christmas shopping around sales or shopping holidays, including Black Friday, compared to previous years. What’s more, a third (34%) plan on leaving it until the last minute in the hope of securing bigger discounts.

In a bid to enjoy Christmas while also adhering to COVID-19 social distancing measures, European consumers are focusing their attention away from physical stores to find their gifts. In fact, three-in-five (60%) say they are planning to do most of their Christmas shopping online. A fifth (20%) go as far as saying they will make all of their festive purchases online this year, despite not usually doing so.

With online sales set to rise, Kaspersky’s findings also indicate that most consumers are not expected to scale back on their Christmas spending – despite economic recessions across the continent. Only a quarter (26%) of consumers are planning to reduce their Christmas shopping budget this year by at least a third or more due to financial restrictions caused by COVID-19. However, this figure rises to 30% amongst 25 to 34-year-olds, the age group most widely affected by pandemic-related job cuts.

Yet, as the number of consumers bargain hunting online rises, so does the amount of risks being taken to secure big savings. Only 16% are not willing to exchange their personal data for online discounts – despite the potential of falling victim to fraudulent websites and sales scams.

“The festive period is always a big deal, and never more so than this year, as people seek to redress some of the chaos the pandemic has caused throughout 2020. It stands to reason that people are looking to do the majority of their sale shopping online in a bid to stay safe, as well as grab a bargain. But we must also consider that where the crowds go, the criminals follow. Just as pickpockets flock to crowded areas hoping to get lucky, cybercriminals will be looking at consumer shopping trends and trying to exploit people’s eagerness to grab a bargain and save some money. So, my advice would be that people do their research, follow some basic common sense measures when shopping and avoid getting swept up in the tidal wave of hype as we seek to remedy 2020 with a happy festive season. One thing to always bear in mind is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” comments David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky.

Kaspersky warns bargain hunters to remain wary of potential Black Friday and festive season sales scams. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Shop online with confidence this Christmas by following our advice on avoiding retail scams:

  • Only shop with legitimate online stores. It’s always safer to type in the address yourself, or select it from your bookmarks, rather than clicking on a link. Use your browser address bar to check if the website you are visiting is genuine and secure and that they carry the padlock or HTTPS
  • Complete purchases through secure payment methods. Pay with credit cards or robust payment services so that transactions remain protected
  • Verify discounts. If you receive a sales discount via email or text, check the sender and any web links are legitimate before you click
  • Keep your device software and applications up-to-date and protect all your devices with a reputable internet security product. Cybersecurity solutions with behaviour-based anti-phishing technologies, such as Kaspersky Total Security, can send your notifications if you are trying to visit a phishing web page
  • Manage your passwords. Password managers can help you shop with multiple retailers by safely storing your credentials, so they are unique for all of your online accounts
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Optimum Finance bolsters its offering in three regions with two new sales directors and commercial director promotion

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Optimum Finance bolsters its offering in three regions with two new sales directors and commercial director promotion 3

Leading invoice finance provider and fintech firm Optimum Finance has appointed two regional sales directors to fulfil the funding needs of SMEs across three UK regions alongside the promotion of Lynn-Marie Jameson to commercial director.

Kelvin Thomas joins the business as regional sales director for Wales and the West and Iain Hendry as regional sales director for the South East.

Kelvin and Iain take up their roles as Optimum Finance embarks on its new growth journey following the appointment last month of fintech expert, Anthony Persse, as new CEO.

The new appointments come off the back of a period of strong growth for the firm which funded over £100m worth of invoices and reported a growth in clientele of 56% in 2019.

Kelvin joins Optimum finance with over 25 years’ industry experience. Having previously held positions as sales director at ABN AMRO Commercial Finance and Eurofactor – Credit Agricole. He is accustomed to delivering strategic regional plans and working within the SME sector to deploy cutting-edge funding solutions.

In his role at Optimum he will be overseeing sales activity in Wales and the West, helping drive Optimum’s bespoke services to those SMEs which need financial support.

With vast experience and knowledge of the South East invoice finance market, Iain is no stranger to working with companies to provide funding options which support business owners. Having worked for Santander, Ultimate Finance and most recently commercial director of Innovation Finance, his industry knowledge is extensive.

When asked about his role, Kelvin said: “Joining the Optimum Finance team has been fantastic. I am enjoying getting to know the portfolio of businesses we work with and how we can help them.

“I am incredibly excited to be focused on expanding Optimum’s offering across Wales and the West delivering strategic plans, deal origination, business development and overseeing mixed asset and product strategies. I’m really looking forward to engaging with SME’s and creating funding solutions for them”

Iain comments on his role: “Given the current circumstances it has never been more important for SMEs to consider invoice finance to support their long-term financial health. In the past I have been part of a team which has provided SMEs with funding solutions to improve cashflow and I am excited to continue to offer this as part of the Optimum Finance team.”

Anthony Persse, CEO at Optimum Finance said: “We are pleased to welcome Kelvin and Iain and to announce the promotion of Lynn-Marie to commercial director. We have an exceptionally strong team in place as well as the drive and tenacity to provide quality, bespoke funding solutions to UK SMEs as they forge ahead in uncertain times.”

For information on the latest job opportunities at Optimum Finance, keep an eye out on https://optimumfinance.co.uk/ or contact the team at [email protected].

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