Research from Onguard has found that 32% of companies are yet to start their digital transformation (DT), despite almost half of CFOs (45%) saying that the ultimate goal of DT is improving the customer experience, suggesting the customer is not currently their priority. An additional driver of DT is increasing efficiency in businesses processes (43%).
Perhaps surprisingly, 23% of CFOs aren’t planning to look at DT for another year or more. So what’s causing this reluctance to innovate with technology?
The resistance to begin DT can in large part be attributed to the uncertainty surrounding it with almost two-thirds of CFOs (65%) believing it will result in fewer jobs. Although DT will undoubtedly bring about a great deal of change, it’s predominately positive and the idea that it will result in humans being replaced by technology is in the most part mistaken. In fact, the failure to begin their DT journey is a missed opportunity for organisations to improve customer experience and reap the rewards that brings.
So, are organisations underestimating the impact DT can have on the customer experience?
Digital transformation means businesses making better use of technology and using this to supplement their workforce. With almost half of CFOs (46%) saying that their own department has progressed furthest with DT, this could have a significant impact on day-to-day financial processes and move employees to more value-adding roles. As DT introduces new technologies, for example artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) for the more monotonous tasks, such as invoicing, employees will be able to dedicate more time to offering a better, more dedicated customer experience.
A clear example of the role DT can play in the financial world has been demonstrated by a bank that redesigned its claims process by deploying 85 bots to run 13 processes – the bots handled 1.5 million requests per year. The bank added capacity equivalent to more than 200 full-time employees at approximately 30% of the cost of recruiting more staff. While this certainly saved the bank time, it also enabled employees to focus on bigger-picture issues and improved the quality time they were able to spend with customers.
The arrival of a host of disruptive fintech companies that live and breathe DT has given the financial world a much-needed wake-up call. So, while almost one-third of companies haven’t started their DT journey, those that have appear to be taking it seriously with the majority of CFOs (83%) revealing that they are already working with an innovative fintech or are developing financial software themselves.
There are a number of reasons CFOs are collaborating with fintech companies, with the principal reason being to make credit management easier (70%). According to Onguard’s research, just 17% of CFOs are not working with a fintech.
In order to be successful externally, primarily with customers, an organisation has to focus internally and ensure the right technology and processes are in place. When all internal processes are sorted out it can then begin to look outwards and find ways to raise customers' experiences to a higher level.
Thanks to DT it is easy for organisations to collect a variety of data about customers, ranging from how much they tend to spend with the business, when they pay their invoices and what form of payment they use. With the optimum technology in place, the company is then able to process this data in real time and gain insights that will enable it to respond even better to customers’ behaviour. These insights can even be used to predict future behaviours, such as when a customer is likely to pay their next invoice. This can then be turned into actions, ensuring payment for the invoice isn’t chased until the usual payment period has elapsed. Ultimately, this will lead to a better customer experience.
Arguably, while the customer doesn’t appear to be number one for CFOs at the moment, the customer experience is intrinsically linked to DT. The further an organisation gets with its DT journey, the more benefit the customer will see.