It’s a tale as old as time. You’ve identified a new product or service your customers or members will love and your institution will benefit from. The CEO and a few key executives are on board, and there’s room in the budget. All the pieces of the innovation puzzle seem to be aligned. And then, as if out of nowhere, the project stalls, innovation gets put on hold - your bank or credit union is right back where it started.
Having partnered with numerous institutions on tech implementations for our digital account opening solution (and getting many of those implementations live in 90 days or less), we’ve learned a few things about getting over the innovation hump. More often than not, financial institutions have all of the tools, people, and processes they need to implement a new product offering - they simply don’t have a clear plan and process to guarantee success. It’s a formula we’ve tried to perfect here at Narmi, as we believe that breaking down innovation barriers is critical for driving change and staying ahead of an unpredictable financial landscape.
So, we’re going to share five practical change management hacks for an institution of any size:
Many tech implementations are doomed to fail before they even start because there isn’t organizational alignment on the shared goals of the project. Leaders often make the mistake of assuming everyone in the organization is bought in on a new initiative or fully understands the cost and benefits, only to find later on that there are lingering doubts or concerns.
Gaining alignment across the executive team before getting too deep into the implementation process can not only surface any underlying issues but also ensure they are addressed in the project plan and any vendor RFPs.
Similarly, leaders sometimes make the mistake of looping in their internal compliance, legal and risk teams later in the development or implementation process. This can be problematic for a few reasons.
One, new technology often introduces automation for manual processes and while this leads to more efficiency, it can also create underlying fraud or compliance risks. Involving your internal compliance and risk stakeholders early can help surface some of these underlying risks and think through some creative solutions to solve them.
Furthermore, nothing stifles innovation more than undue tension between project goals and compliance or fraud risks. In other words, ignoring or putting aside these risks until later in the implementation process is a sure fire way to upset your internal stakeholders, or worse, create an unnecessary innovation roadblock later in the implementation process.
It might sound intuitive, but a lot of the inertia with change management comes from a lack of communication and transparency. When project leaders fail to involve relevant stakeholders, or are themselves unclear on next steps or key milestones because they’ve outsourced too much to an external vendor, it creates uncertainty in the feedback loop and can jeopardize the success of a project.
Making project communication and management a clear priority can help relevant stakeholders stay aligned and ultimately lead to faster implementation times.
Change management is about influencing change in your organization. Yet many leaders make the mistake of thinking they know exactly what they want from a new product or technology or are unwilling to think outside of legacy processes. This can cause them to discount certain vendors or technology partners that don’t “check all the boxes.”
Instead, approaching innovation with an open mind, yet still with clear goals, can help institutions find valuable innovation partners and ultimately hit or exceed their overarching goals.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, championing change requires reliable technology and integration partners. Good implementation partners give you exactly what you need, when you need it; great implementation partners go above and beyond to save you time and money throughout the implementation process.
Tech implementation has become somewhat of an obsession for Narmi, as we believe that a smooth implementation not only breaks down innovation barriers but also gives customers greater agency over what is effectively their technology. For every implementation, we provide a comprehensive onboarding platform that enables implementation teams to arrange project outlines and to-do lists, leave notes, assign tasks, and collaborate in an orderly and seamless way. From there, we guide our customers through every step of the implementation process and include check-ins with customer success teams to review and benchmark performance, and stay up-to-date with a library of resources.
The bottom line is that financial institutions that want to keep up with the demands of their increasingly-digital customers are going to have to find ways to break down the innovation barrier. At Narmi, we’ve found a change management and implementation formula that has worked for countless customers - and we’re happy to share it with your institution also!
Discover real-life stories of how Narmi has helped our customers overcome innovation barriers and achieve unparalleled implementation success by visiting our Customer Success Story archive.