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By “ Strategy Execution” we mean the set of projects, generally long-term and on the entire company perimeter, which allow to implement the Strategy defined periodically by the bank or insurance company top management, and described in the Business Plans. This activity leads to the “Transformation of Processes”, a modification of operations that can be activated even in the absence of a specific Strategic design, as a reaction to specific requests from the business context, as in the case of remote-working following the pandemic.

It could appear an almost banal activity with merely executive characteristics for the organization: this is the plan, do what is written there. Consequently, a set of projects to be implemented are defined, tasks are assigned and trends and results are monitored. But if it were that simple, why do the statistics, based on the statements of the managers of all the major banks and insurance companies in the world, speak of bankruptcies of orders of magnitude over 80%?

Instead, we are dealing with the classic activity which in its components is so relatively simple to describe and perform (on paper), but which hides pitfalls in the details. And when there are hundreds, if not thousands, of these components, the “devil” hiding in these details takes on such dimensions as to slow down or even cause any Execution and Transformation to fail. This is no small problem when these activities receive the pressing attention of their bosses or shareholders .

How are Execution and Transformation different from “simple” projects?

The life of a bank consists of the continuity of its operations: credit disbursement and management (in all its forms), risk assessment, compliance with regulations and supervision, personnel management, administration, information systems and much more. Like that of insurance, with product definition, contract taking, risk assessment, claims settlement, administration, information systems and so on. The interruption of these puts at risk the very existence of the company or institution.

These operations are ongoing activities that never stop being performed. To accomplish them, Banks and Insurance Companies equip themselves with means, people and an organizational structure. Within these structures, projects are periodically launched, with beginning and end, whose purpose is to make operations continue in a better way or to take advantage of temporary favorable conditions. For example, projects of this type are certainly the updating of a part of the information system for the IT department, or if we are talking about insurance, we could think of a promotional campaign on a new product for the network of agents or the reorganization of the network. of the experts, while if we refer to a Bank, a start-up on a new product for the branch network or the sale of a package of NPLs for the credit structure, and so on. So these are projects at the end of which the processes remain unchanged .

However, these structures, however flexible, may over time find themselves inadequate to operate in a context that has profoundly changed compared to when they were defined. In the past there have been numerous examples of events that have imposed important operational discontinuities: the adoption of the euro, the affirmation of remote banking, the tax benefits on some life products and the affirmation of the digital channel are just some of the most notice. These needs for Operational Transformations or the will of Execution of previously defined Strategies , had extraordinary characteristics: they were carried out occasionally. The end result, however, at the end of the underlying projects, was that the operations were profoundly modified.

The challenges of today

Compared to yesterday, a novelty has been added: the transformations of the operations required by the business context are more frequent; they can no longer be considered as “extraordinary” activities as in the past. The thrust of technologies that offer opportunities for differentiation and optimization of processes, new and increasingly frequent regulations, the entry of new operators of non-banking or non-insurance origin into the market, the need for further integration, are just some examples of the strengths , but also opportunities, which force Banks and Insurance Companies to increasingly frequent Strategic reviews. Overtime has therefore become ordinary and the increasingly widespread presence of the new Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) figures or the addition of the title “ Transformation” to the Chief Operating Officers are proof of this; therefore in charge of operations but also responsible for their transformations.

Some of the characteristics of Strategic Execution and Process Transformation activities, so frequent to the point that they themselves have become “processes” (or rather “meta-processes” as their purpose is precisely to change operational processes), are:

  • Involving different parts of the organization in the activities of Execution and Transformation, which forces to establish a de facto “meta-organization” (temporary and variable organization that carries out the meta-processes ).
  • Maintain control and visibility on all activities, internal and external to the company perimeter, consisting not only of projects.
  • Constantly track and keep coherent and traceable the enormous mass of documents of various types (texts, spreadsheets, presentations, videos, etc.), synchronous and non-synchronous communications (chat, email) and other related to the meta-process of Execution and Transformation that would otherwise tend to get lost in the “noise” of daily operations, always prevalent as they are necessary for the survival of the Bank and the Insurance.
  • Keep the meta-process active and distinct with respect to operations, being threatened by the temporal extension (it could last years) and geographical / dimensional (i.e. territorial dispersion and relative to the size of the organization).
  • Ensure the correct level of synthesis and visibility at any time: from the top Steering Committee to the peripheral manager responsible for part of the activities.

Given the peculiarity of Strategic Execution and Process Transformation , and having itself become a (meta) process, the Bank and the Insurance would greatly benefit from the availability of a single integrated tool, which could be integrated with other existing systems, offering support global. There are certainly specific solutions for task support (project management), for document management (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), communication support (email and chat systems) and more, which, however, fail to provide a solution as soon as possible. described and above all make the most important and critical aspect slow and cumbersome, especially for those responsible at various levels: the synthesis and visibility of the Execution and Transformation in a Single Point.

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Mirko Gubian

Mirko Gubian

Uso il Design Thinking per aiutare i team a concentrarsi sui propri utenti e a trovare il giusto modo per sfruttare le idee.