Last time, we outlined the challenges facing long-term savings & wealth (LTS&W) businesses in today’s market. The bottom-line? In a hugely competitive landscape, LTS&W businesses that don’t embrace transformation risk obsolescence. The alternative? Pivot to become what we call a ‘digital living business’. These are organisations that are digital front-to-back, connected, data-driven and utterly consumer-centric.

In this blog, I want to dig deeper into what we mean by a digital living business. I also want to introduce the approach we’ve developed to help LTS&W firms negotiate the journey to become one and, in the process, emerge smarter, more agile and much better equipped to thrive.

First, a quick refresher. We define a ‘digital living business’ as an organisation that evolves ‘instinctively’ so that it’s always hyper-relevant to each customer’s changing life needs, preferences, priorities and goals. Through intelligent personalisation, its service offerings are never less than engaging. And as an enterprise, it’s credible and consistent to the core.

With organisational ecosystems that constantly flex and adapt with each new innovation, digital living businesses are like living organisms in many respects – vital, responsive and never standing still. So how can LTS&W businesses make this happen?

To be successful, they must embrace digital across the entire operating model. That includes adopting a digital-first approach to engagement and decision-making for all key stakeholders – whether they’re consumers, intermediaries, partners or employees.

Data’s at the core of all this, providing the fuel that sustains and ignites each business’s digital engine. In fact, it’s only by harnessing data that LTS&W organisations can respond to the three core challenges they face.

The first challenge, rapidly evolving consumer expectations, is all about being ready to market, communicate and deliver propositions to a ‘segment of one’. Reinforced by their experiences with platforms like Uber, Amazon and Spotify, consumers expect to be able to view, amend and service their investments 100 percent through digital.

To confront ferocious competition, the next challenge, incumbent LTS&W firms need to deploy innovative proposition launches that will differentiate them in a crowded market. The priorities here? Focusing on service experiences that evolve with each customer’s needs, as well as becoming intelligent ‘on the inside’ – using data to run operations more efficiently and insightfully.

Third, by using AI, robotics and automation, LTS&W firms will be better able to provide access to advice. ‘Robo-advice’ capabilities will not only allow them to support IFAs by reducing the cost to serve, but will also enable them to capture new customers by providing compelling, direct-to-consumer digital advice.

To help firms get started on the transition to becoming a digital living business, we propose five ‘no regrets’ interventions:

  1. Targeting … a ‘North Star’: Where and how do you need to engage with customers, partners and competitors?
  1. Designing … for human interaction: Where and how can you improve the quality of engagements with advisers, your end clients, colleagues and partners?
  1. Building / iterating … an intelligent platform: Identify how your business can build and drive value from an intelligent platform.
  1. Connecting … a diverse ecosystem: How can you create relationships, cultivate partnerships and, in the process, broaden your digital capabilities?
  1. Sustaining … a liquid organisation: How can you build a resilient, integrated culture that will fearlessly embrace change and stay in synch with the digital economy?

Next time, I’ll be exploring how our ‘digital living business’ solution can be implemented. There are practical steps you can take to make it happen; we’ll bring them to life. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your views. So please leave a comment or email me. Thanks for reading.

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