Last week Paragon attended #Finovate Fall 2020 – an all virtual conference focused on insights and new technologies that are driving fintech forward. As we reflect on the week, we’re sharing some notes and our own thoughts around a few of our favorite sessions.
Session: “Digital Transformation’s Journey Towards Automation and Analytics”
The current global pandemic is driving disruption and accelerating digital transformation efforts. Scott Gnau, Vice President of Data Platforms at InterSystems (@Scott_Gnau) delivered some helpful tips to get the most out of your digital transformation journey.
- Consumer expectations still remain high during crisis. Connected devices make today’s consumers much more agile and mobile; they expect a high-level of customer experience regardless of the situation.
- Examine, then scale your business processes. That means looking at how you’re doing business, how transactions flow, your interactions with customers – then scaling out your business with features including self-service elements to accelerate digital transformation.
- Ready technologies for unexpected traffic surges. Your site’s architecture, components, applications and interfaces need to take into account volume spikes and changes to ensure systems can handle those changes without skipping a beat.
- Build resiliency into your business model. Scott noted four factors to building a resilient business: (1) Eliminate blind spots by using a test environment to trial how systems behave in crisis; (2) Streamline and automate processes – particularly those critical ones that get products to consumers or manage relationships; (3) Plan for the unexpected by developing crisis scenarios and flow charts to resolve them; and (4) Embed intelligence into business processes to ensure that your systems can run autonomously if things break down.
Preparing for digital disruption during times of crisis is critical. We agree. While license schemes such as Auto-scaling Platform as a Services (PAAS) can help websites be responsive to traffic surges, taking a major enterprise site into auto-scaling is a heavy lift. In times of crisis response, there are lighter weight solutions that can be implemented if you haven’t made those plans early in the site build. In addition to scaling technology and processes, scaling resources is often another challenge that pops up in times of crisis; staff augmentation can help.
Session: “Building consumer trust in the age of doubt”
Since the 2008 financial crisis, the financial services industry has been plagued with consumer trust issues. Sarika Sangwan, Pinterest’s Global Head of Strategy & Marketing for Financial Services discussed the increased importance of trust in a COVID world.
- Trust is paramount. To build healthy, thriving and long-term relationships, trust is vital and more important than ever before, with 53% of customers on Pinterest reporting it 2nd most important to price.
- Be customer-centric. Pinterest’s most valuable content is rooted in consumer insights. During the crisis, the pins that performed best are those related to relevant consumer interests: 200x increase in home offices, 93% increase in home gyms, 50x increase in homeschooling, 243% spike in easy cocktail recipes.
- Use customer insights to drive marketing decisions. Putting the customer first can help attract new customers and retain existing ones; leverage insights to drive marketing, messaging and product decisions.
Like Sarika and Pinterest, we’re 100% onboard with the importance of customer-centricity. We believe that truly understanding your customer is a precursor to delivering meaningful digital experiences. Customer insights are at the core of all great digital solutions– and when applied correctly can help organizations optimize conversions across a customer’s journey. Beyond informing marketing decisions, customer research can also help organizations learn how and when to personalize the digital experience to get the greatest impact, or what we call “Engagement Planning”.
Session: “Catering to the Differing Needs of Differing Demographics: Millennials and Gen Z as the Norm, Not the Anomaly”
In this session, Vivek Bedi, Northwestern Mutual’s Former Head of Consumer Experience Digital Products (@vivbedi) discussed how millennial and Gen Z needs are different to the generations we are used to serving, particularly in a precarious post-COVID-19 world.
- Millennials & Gen Z’ers are “hope-focused” generations. Societally, both of these are generations that want to do good, give back and leave a mark on society, both in work and personal interactions.
- Think mobile-first. These generations want access to everything, quickly. It’s an #alwayson culture – where products need to be on and available all of the time, particularly on mobile – but don’t forget the human interaction as they value that, too.
- Social is essential. While Millennials and Gen Z’ers use social as a platform to voice concerns, emotions, and political views – it’s also a critical space to engage two-way communication.
- Simplicity is king. The highest customer abandonment is found with complex tools. Financial literacy remains an issue with these generations, so keeping it simple in all aspects of tools and communications is important.
- Connect constantly. Learn what people like, hate, and what drives them.
Vivek said it best in this presentation: “To build great products you need to first understand your customer”. That one really resonates with us. However, he made a few other points that we strongly echo. For one, having a mobile-first mindset is especially important when it comes to designing for mobile. It’s also important to begin your QA testing on your mobile devices.
Did we miss you at Finovate?
Learn more about Paragon’s solutions for the financial services industry – and see how we worked with PSECU to envision, design and develop a new financial services website allowing for greater personalization, accessibility, and ultimately, increased conversion.