Given that this technology-enabled transformation project was ultimately all about the customer, the EY team decided to focus on the customer’s needs, employing a collaborative innovation approach based on design thinking.
They gathered a wide array of its technology consulting talent, from technology service designers and developers, to IT architects and those proficient in business strategy. The global EY team included highly trained specialists in Belgium, France, Hong Kong SAR, Italy, Luxembourg and Singapore.
The process began with more than 50 client interviews. These were followed by three-day Ideation Workshops held in four locations around the world, each involving 30 to 40 of the wealth manager’s internal stakeholders. These workshops covered trends analysis, discussion of best practice and the creation of client personas. As a result of the workshops, 75 potentially beneficial initiatives were identified. It was then decided to prioritize 15 of these, covering five key areas:
- Better customer data management
- A more personalized digital platform
- An advisory process that is embedded in the client’s life
- Sharing and network capabilities
- Fully service-driven
The next stage was the development of 10 minimum viable products (MVPs) in areas such as digital advisory and communications tools, as well as robo-advice and an aggregation service. Thierry Grouès, EY WAM Transformation Strategic Solutions Lead, explains: “An MVP isn’t a proof of concept, it’s a real thing that some customers can use. The idea was to launch something as quickly as possible in an agile way and as a starting point. Then, once you have that in the hands of the customers, that’s when you can increase the value proposition around it.” This involved developing a landing platform, both on the front end and technology side, where these new services could be housed.
The EY team faced several challenges as it worked to rapidly develop and launch these new digital services while simultaneously carrying out the transformation of the company’s internal operations and dealing with legacy technology systems.
The development of partnerships with several FinTech companies helped accelerate the development of new services. To maximize the long-term value generated from their client’s existing technology systems, the EY team worked with the client’s multiple technology vendors to consolidate their latest individual technology products into a single, consolidated, customer-centric technology platform. These components ranged from personalized customer alerts and newsfeeds, to digital onboarding, account aggregation and biometric validation. Concurrently, the team assessed how the client’s legacy systems needed to evolve to support these new services and be scalable over the coming years.
There were also cultural issues, as this agile methodology was a new way of working for the wealth management firm. EY Seren (an international design consultancy with substantial experience in digital business transformation) was part of this effort, and the EY team also worked with an external agency to help the client become accustomed to the collaborative, innovative approach required to implement the methodology.
Finally, Grouès says that managing the client’s expectations was important. “You can’t launch all of these different services overnight. It takes a lot of time and consultation, and after the implementation it can sometimes take two or three years to learn what does and doesn’t work, and to transform the client’s culture to make the most of the technology.”