For many organisations planning to digitise finance and treasury functions, the most difficult question is where to start?
Several experts at the HSBC Innovation Summit suggested approaching the initiative as a business project, rather than as a technology project. When implementation team members keep their eye on the desired business outcomes, they find it is easier to evaluate success or failure at various points along the way.
In addition, by approaching the project from a business rather than technology perspective, the organisation is more likely to focus on the people aspects, such as change management and human-centred design, which are key to effective implementation.
“If you’re going to have a digital strategy,” says Wilson, “then you want it to be seamless, and you want it to be easy to adopt, even for the supply community.”
At the outset of the journey, it is critical to get the right people in the room and on the team. Having diversity within the team from day one, including people with different experiences and backgrounds, is important. This can create a healthy tension – for example, between those who advocate a customer focus and those who support technological efficiency, ensuring both perspectives are represented and addressed simultaneously.
And it is important to get the strategy right as quickly as possible.
“Digital first impressions matter,” says Archis. “Trust builds over time, of course. Repeat dynamics and all sorts of behaviour come from that. But the initial experience also matters, especially once you start to digitise.”
Another suggestion is to gain strong sponsorship for the initiative at both senior executive management and board levels.
At all stages of the implementation, clarity and consistency are vital to ensuring focus on the desired outcome. Organisations need to be clear about where they need to be in five years – and what success will look like at that time. They can then work backwards from that vision to determine the details of the implementation strategy.
Finally, it is important to work with a partner that understands what the business needs and can support its innovation, said John Scott, HSBC Australia’s Country Head of Global Payments Solutions.