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Enhance Client Experience via Technology
Christiaan Ter Haar, Md, North America Head of Digital Product & Transformation, Rabobank
What are the current challenges that are prevailing in the market with respect to digital transformation space?
We've faced challenges in aligning our internal organization structure and skill sets in order to meet the diverse demands of digital transformation, which include product management, cloud adoption, integration and automation, and DevOps. I believe that managing people and cultural change has been one of the most underappreciated aspects of the entire process.
From the perspective of the head of IT, maintaining a balance between the support role and the degree of centralization of systems for different business lines is another difficulty.
I think it's reassuring to see that many of the large institutions are continuing to make significant investments in digital technologies in spite of inflation and a potential slowdown, particularly in light of the current macroeconomic situation. I observed a further tendency toward maintaining those digital investments while concentrating on obvious productivity, better results, and quick value delivery. Keeping our personnel in place and investing in important skill sets in areas that are still developing will be essential for us to continue achieving our goals of improving the client and employee experience.
Could you tell me some points of discussion on your leadership panel?
Most of the conversations are around establishing a plan that is in sync with the corporate headquarters, North American business lines, and Pet architecture. For example, we had a cloud adoption and integration following our initiatives roadmap.
As we transition from a project organization to this product organization, another continuing conversation is how to structure ourselves effectively around our products and how to match that with the rest of our global company. As part of our skilled, agile transformation, we discovered that every compromise we make along the route has an impact. The key to being agile in it has to understand and accept things but then be deliberate about following up and having continuous improvement on an ongoing basis. Nevertheless, balancing investment areas and receiving coaching to enhance our prioritizing is necessary for being deliberate in terms of our plan and execution.
Our digital journey is focused on supporting rural clients and further expands that interaction through a digital experience
We need to invest in the cloud, automation, and integration to ensure speedier delivery, but at the same time, balance it with a very stable and secure environment because we are a financial institution. Additionally, we must be able to accomplish this with the same amount of resources or less. Therefore, there's a constant balancing act that our leadership team must perform.
In light of some potential disruptions in transformation, how do you envision the digital transformation landscape evolving?
Despite Rabobank's global focus on food and agribusiness, we observe that many of our clients are undergoing a digital transformation, particularly in rural areas. Some agricultural technology companies are providing farmers with new services and data insights. In the upcoming years, we will combine our data with data provided by Ag tech companies, such as crop data and fuel data. It will assist us in generating new services for our clients based on it, as well as greater insights in terms of early warnings.
Open services through other channels, such as improved financing, where we can truly deliver our services to our clients who are digitally active, is another area of evolution. For instance, we can offer direct financing options through retailers of fertilizer or seed.
Our digital journey is centered on assisting rural clients and extending that relationship via the use of technology. It really is built on banking, not just financing products but also on giving our clients information and connections.
What would be the best advice you could impart to an aspiring professional in your field?
My advice would be to always remember that technology is merely a means to an end. It's good to be enthusiastic about new technologies, but in order to advance a firm; a solid plan and client understanding should come first. Some people use technology to try to address their problems and keep investing in it without understanding the value it provides to stakeholders. I believe these endeavors may frequently fall short and lose confidence with stakeholders. Therefore, it's crucial to comprehend the needs of your customers and staff rather than putting too much emphasis on the technology itself.