This blog series is a continuation of IQ Group’s insights with digital engagement transformation for today’s Super Funds. Since 2014 it has been tracking digital engagement preparedness for the Top 50 Funds as they meet the demands for digital services from Fund members.
In our first blog of this series we reviewed how A Fund’s digital strategy doesn’t stand alone. Like any other strategy, it needs to be grounded in the Fund’s business strategy and link clearly to Fund objectives. This blog takes a look at what may stand in your way of building this strategy.
It’s all about removing roadblocks
So, you’ve put together your digital strategy, and you realise the impact of your transformation on your structure and operations will be profound. But the next step – bringing together different systems and applications in a co-ordinated way – systems integration – is your next major challenge.
Align your systems and/or service providers
The online world has enabled the digitisation of a range of business capabilities, from new business (member onboarding), to access (member and employer portals), to analytics and reporting, as well as member engagement and other campaigns. Regardless of whether these services are supported in-house or delivered by external suppliers, alignment and integration at business and technical levels is essential. Getting this wrong can be the cause of endless frustration, inefficiency and lost opportunity. It can also serve to undermine your single view of customer and result in poor data which of course directly impacts the customer experience.
Ensuring proper alignment requires the co-operation of product, administration and technology, and ideally supported by a systems integration specialist.
Integrate your technology plan with your Fund business plan
Ultimately, the products on offer determine the business capabilities needed to administer them, and this determines the technical capabilities. The costs and capabilities of existing systems (or bringing in new ones) will influence business process and product design. In all areas of running a super Fund, business decisions are now also IT decisions.
Super Funds are looking to create or provide access to additional data analytic tools, multiple channels to engage with members, and platforms that facilitate the use of data and new ways of engaging with members. All of these strategies require the involvement of tech executives from the get-go, and not after key decisions have been made.
- Regulatory environment catching up to technological capabilityWhile legislation is slowly embracing new and emerging technologies, there are many areas where regulations and regulators lag behind the capabilities of these technologies.Collaboration between heads of product, administration technology and compliance not only ensure the balance of competing needs but will lead to a better understanding of the issues, and help light the way forward. However, resolution will only come when super Funds are also a part of advocacy to government – both directly and through their industry associations – to identify and reduce these roadblocks. In many instances, these regulatory roadblocks are not just operational issues for super Funds but are also examples of red-tape that compromise overall efficiencies that can be gained with a solid digital strategy.
- Stay focused on innovation developmentAssuming the rate of regulatory change will continue in Australia, Funds need to find a way to incorporate regulatory change into product and business innovation. In short, this is a risk management, compliance, governance and indeed, whole-of-business issue that robust technological integration, systems and business alignment supported by a solid digital strategy can help to mitigate.
- Digital onboardingOnboarding processes are ripe for change. In the digital era, there is no compelling reason for super Funds to offer the face-to-face option to sign up new members or other member and stakeholder interactions. Flexible delivery, including a digital face to face option is the way forward.
- Leveraging the cloudCloud based computing solutions, for example, are increasing being deployed by Australian Funds for their potential benefits in data storage, retention and access. However, issues of data residency, privacy and security continue to complicate the use of cloud services. APRA has issued guidance about using the cloud but this need to better balance the opportunities offered by the cloud with appropriate risk management.Providers have now responded to many of these issues and data centres are now well established in Australia providing domestic solutions with varying degrees of security, Business Continuity Processes and Disaster Recovery Processes. With appropriate risk strategies in place, “risk” can no longer be used as the overall reason for dismissing the cloud as part of an encompassing digital strategy.
Roadblocks by their nature can be moved. If they are seen as the immovable object on the journey to digital transformation, achieving true integration and alignment of systems and processes will continue to be unachievable.
Director of Business Development
Ron is the author of the IQ Group Annual Superannuation Industry Digital Engagement Study. This blog was developed with the support of the Structural and Thought Leadership Group at IQ Group.