Tag: Digital Transformation

Capturing Business Advantage After The COVID-19 Crisis | Blog

The crashing global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic now wreaks havoc on businesses. But the pandemic eventually will end, and there will be compelling opportunities at that time. As I explained in my prior blog, companies need to take steps now that enable them to accelerate through the pandemic curve so they can grab opportunities when the pandemic ends. In this blog, I’ll detail how to establish the necessary infrastructure that enables surviving a recession and thriving after the pandemic. This infrastructure is a top priority.

The pandemic is causing a pause in commercial activity for the next few months. But once the pause is over, the underlying fundamentals for moving to digital at scale are still positive. And it will happen quickly at that point – for companies that have the infrastructure for high velocity and productivity.

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Companies Moving to Digital at Scale | Blog

A lot of vendors are starting to drop the term “digital.” We’re at a point in digital maturity where North American and European businesses accept the importance of technologies such as cloud, AI and automation. They ran experiments on these technologies and validated that they work. Now businesses are moving to “digital at scale.” Let’s look at what digital at scale means and why it’s important.

I first want to point out that the COVID-19 pandemic changes the dimensions of the move to digital at scale – but only temporarily. The pandemic is causing a pause in commercial activity for the next couple of quarters. But once the pause is over, the underlying fundamentals for moving to digital at scale are still positive. And the move will happen quickly at that point.

Read my blog in Forbes

Anti-financial Crime Talent Imperatives in the Digital Age | Blog

For years, financial institutions have struggled to attract and retain quality anti-financial crime (AFC) talent, which remains a compliance program’s most vital asset. And the situation is only getting worse.  Why? First, both the importance and application of anti-money laundering (AML) and fraud risk management are increasing. Second, the requirements and expectations of regulators are snowballing. And third, demand for AFC talent is skyrocketing while unemployment remains low. It’s a perfect storm.

Perhaps most importantly, the AFC workforce must now be able to work with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Financial institutions that can’t adapt their workforce to the demands of this new augmented human intelligence era simply won’t survive. Knowing what talent to look for – and how to attract, manage, and retain it – is key.

The changing definition of talent and the rise of “bilinguals”

In the past, whenever new compliance initiatives or regulations arose, banks tended to staff up operational teams to address them. Now banks realize that hiring operational staff isn’t enough. Instead, solving for the underlying problem – be it “Know Your Customer” remediation, reducing incidences of fraud, or ensuring better AML compliance – is the answer.

To do this, banks are breaking up their talent pyramid into tasks. Those tasks that are manual and repetitive (and therefore subject to a high degree of automation) sit at the bottom of the talent pyramid. And those requiring a high degree of judgment that can be handled only by skilled employees sit at the top. As a result, talent must now be “bilingual,” possessing not only the domain and operational expertise to drive judgments but also the technology expertise to help automate repetitive, mundane tasks.

Attracting talent

If a bank has bilingual workers, it’s not letting them go, so finding such talent at scale through hiring practices alone is unlikely. Instead, the challenge is to identify skilled workers from either a domain or technology background and train them to develop the skills they lack.

One solution is partnering with universities. For example, recognizing that ready talent is not necessarily available in the marketplace, some service providers partner with universities to identify suitable individuals for entry-level positions and then train staff in those positions on AFC fundamentals.

Developing talent

At the same time, the half-life of professional skills is decreasing at an alarming pace. Regulations and technology are constantly changing, so talent agility is key. Organizations must create an environment of innovation, training, and enabling people to do their jobs faster and better, including enabling them with access to the right tools, be they bots or data libraries.

Firms are increasingly using techniques such as micro learning, which breaks information into bite-sized pieces, and spaced learning, which identifies the right moment for intervention so that trainees retain more information. Gamification is another technique that makes learning fun and increases retention.  Through a combination of these approaches, firms can train employees and develop talent much more efficiently.

Retaining talent

Today’s banks are losing employees not only to other banks, but also to techfin firms. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are all making forays into banking, and they’re always on the lookout for people who can help their engineering teams understand the financial payments and risk disciplines. To retain talent, it’s important to drive workers’ aspirations.

Keeping employees engaged is essential to retention. Engagement can be accomplished through creative challenges and contests that instill sustainable change and help employees use their skills beyond their day-to-day work.

When it comes to AFC talent, it’s a battlefield out there. To learn more about how financial institutions can attract, manage, and motivate AFC talent to achieve the best balance between human and technical intelligence, check out the webinar I recently conducted with Genpact on this topic.

How To Avoid Unhelpful Or Biased Consulting And Advice | Blog

Many initiatives that companies fund in our current business environment fall under the broad heading of digital transformation. They are large, well-defined projects, but they actually take the form of ongoing agile journeys in which organizations implement and learn to use new technologies and then add more technology. As companies abandon the old waterfall project management structures and adopt agile journeys, they find that they need a continuous supply of advice, ideas, best practices, benchmarks and experience from outside their own ranks. Unfortunately, a lot of advice is not helpful and causes companies to lose money. Let’s look at the remedy for obtaining effective advice and how to consume it.

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Companies Waste Or Overpay Service Vendors At Least 10% | Blog

Organizations buy services from a wide variety of service providers — ranging from managed services for IT applications and infrastructure, contingent labor to supplement gaps in skills and availability, cloud services, business process services, and more. We at Everest Group looked at the administration of these contractual relationships and discovered that most organizations leave tens of millions of dollars on the table. Why does this happen and what is the answer to this dilemma?

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How To Get Innovation From Service Providers and Vendors | Blog

Companies today hold all business functions to a mandate for innovation. Innovation should create business value (a better experience for employees, customers, and partners). It should create agility and speed. It should make business functions more easily adaptable, easier to change. And it should also lower the cost of the functions over time. The benefits are clear and obvious. But the truth is innovation is illusive and hard to get.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Key To Designing An Effective Digital Platform | Blog

Companies undertaking digital transformation seek to improve customer, employee and partner experiences. They build digital platforms to deliver the desired experience. My observation from working with many companies undergoing this endeavor is they often overlook the key factor necessary building an effective digital platform.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

The Benefits of Platform as a Service (PaaS) in Application Support & Development | Blog

It seems that the past decade or so of noise around Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) was well worth it. The technology has now reached a level of maturity and scale to be regarded as a reliable solution for both large- and small-scale companies. Leveraging it, enterprises can achieve faster and more secure solutions, while saving themselves the pain of managing, provisioning, or monitoring compute, storage, and network components. Developers can spend most of their time doing what they should be doing – developing, customizing, and testing their applications. Moreover, it helps improve application release time, which can help get early user feedback.

Let’s take a look at the specific benefits PaaS brings to the table in application support and development.

Within the standard application support activities of incident and problem management, enterprises typically achieve a 25-35 percent net effort reduction when supporting an application in a PaaS environment. PaaS vendors now perform activities such as database and middleware management, which reduces the number of tickets for their setup and management. PaaS platforms that come with their own application monitoring tools don’t even raise a ticket when there’s a lag in application response due to proactive monitoring and auto-healing mechanisms. Other activities, such as daily checks and log management, are also managed by the PaaS vendor. Thus, enterprises can save considerable effort by distancing themselves from routine tasks and focusing on more productive work.

Similarly, for application development activities, PaaS can help achieve 25-40 percent efficiencies. Activities such as drafting an operational model become easier with PaaS, as features such as deployment views, infrastructure views, and monitoring views are already built in the platform. Most PaaS solutions come with pre-defined plans and SLA guarantees, so non-functional requirements testing for infrastructure availability isn’t required. Further, PaaS can facilitate automation in executing test scripts, taking backups, applying schemas, etc.

What to consider when selecting a PaaS solution

At the same time, choosing a PaaS solution to achieve the desired benefits can be a tall order. First, enterprises need to evaluate if the platform supports the technologies, programming languages, and middleware stacks its development teams use.

Here are the other key things you need to consider when zeroing in on a PaaS solution:

  1. Data security considerations: Data residing policies for storing data in vendor-controlled or third-party cloud servers need to be compatible with your enterprise’s policies, e.g., GDPR compliance
  2. Integration capabilities of the PaaS solution: Not all the components of legacy IT systems are built for the cloud; thus, you must do thorough due diligence of your existing environment
  3. Application type: PaaS is more suitable for custom applications that are not System of Record (SOR) solutions. SOR solutions, such as ERP, are primarily data repository systems that do not require scalability or dynamism to be built in
  4. Vendor lock-in: You should consider application portability to alternative PaaS options to ensure smooth functioning in the event of migration. Typically, open source PaaS platforms offer low risk of vendor lock-in
  5. Security and compliance: You should also consider the regulatory impact and choose a PaaS provider whose systems are Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and HIPAA/HITECH compliant. And you need to make sure that stored/transferred data will follow an adequate data protection framework.

Considering PaaS’ potential business advantages, it’s difficult to overlook its value proposition. PaaS can make companies more agile and responsive to demand, scale up quickly, and avoid costly investments in infrastructure.

It also expedites application delivery by enabling developers to create and deliver software in a simple and automated fashion. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all PaaS solutions are alike, and there’s no single PaaS for all customer needs. To realize the desired benefits from any PaaS solution, you must carefully dovetail your enterprise’s unique requirements with the offerings of the PaaS vendor.

Data Analytics and Data Management Market | Blog

Companies’ investments in digital platforms are becoming pervasive, thus moving businesses into a new era. They first moved from a functional orientation to a process orientation and are now fundamentally shifting to a platform orientation. Digital platforms are already changing companies, whether they recognize it or not. The implications of platform thinking are very deep. Data are the lifeblood of a digital platform. But the implications of what companies must do to be able to apply their data in a timely way is significant.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

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