Digital Transformation in Challenging Times

financial services

“There's a Mentality that We Have Here on Our Side, Especially in the Digital Realm: Change Before You Have to”

Silo Busting 54: Tom Novak and Alex Jimenez on Digital Transformation in a Turbulent Time

February 6, 2023
tom and alex

Now is an odd time to be a Chief Digital Officer at a financial services organization. The Fed is fighting inflation while watching unemployment numbers. Consumer spending is in flux. Banks are still—still!—trying to figure out their budgets.

With all this going on, how’s a CDO going to proceed with a big digital transformation project? That’s exactly the topic Alex Jimenez, Managing Principal, Financial Services Consulting at EPAM, is covering with our guest, Tom Novak, VP/CDO of Visions Federal Credit Union, on Silo Busting.

On the latest #TakeItToTheBank dialogue, Novak is all about adhering to his central principles. “If we stick to our digital transformation objectives, this whole play of humanizing digital as we look to scale our business, there will be short-, medium- and long-term benefits to doing that, and [they] will help us navigate some of these headwinds that are happening from a macroeconomic perspective.”

Jimenez notes the irony that some firms are suddenly shifting away from their digital transformation efforts to focus on creating efficiencies. “It's funny to hear some organizations that say, 'We're gonna stop doing digital transformation because we gotta be more efficient.'” The two ideas should have been part of the conversation together all along.

Novak says his org will “continue to invest in digital transformation efforts and leveraging the data and insights that we get from those” because that's how “we can really propel ourselves out of the doldrums of this, let's call it a mild recession.”

The conversion is centrally about cost optimization in the present and preparing for growth going forward. The insights gained from the digital transformation work, Novak says, will provide “a lot of our insights to move the business forward in the future.”

Novak and Jimenez also tackle Visions' venture into crypto wallets, the importance of getting business intelligence in order, of digital account openings, and of AI and ML and personalization.

Yes, people are opening more digital accounts but, says Novak: “We’re still missing out on how we can form a real relationship with that member as opposed to more of a transactional relationship.”

Episode 54 is what it sounds like when two financial services pros who have, in fact, a real relationship, speak honestly and well about our current moment.

Host: Alison Kotin
Engineer: Kyp Pilalas
Producer: Ken Gordon

Silo Busting 54: Tom Novak and Alex Jimenez on Digital Transformation in a Turbulent Time
filed in: financial services, digital transformation, complex systems, customer experience