During this series I’ve explored why long-term savings & wealth (LTS&W) businesses must transform, or risk obsolescence.

We’ve looked at the challenges confronting them in a hugely competitive market. And we’ve shown why becoming a ‘living business’ – constantly evolving and data-driven, front-to-back – provides the path to new profitable growth. Bottom line? It’s the only way to deliver the hyper-relevant, consumer-centric products and services that are so essential today.

In this final blog of my living business series, I’m focusing on the practical side of things: the steps businesses can and must take to become a living business.

Pivoting to ‘the new’

At a strategic level, it means embracing the need for digital transformation, from the ground up – ensuring the whole business is built and evolved digitally, from end to end, as well as creating the living ecosystem of partners that will support this evolution.

Living businesses balance the need to both nurture existing operations and explore new sources of revenue. That’s the essence of what we call ‘pivoting to the new’. Investing in the transformation of the core business (through automation, analytics and AI) to cut costs and drive growth, freeing up trapped value to invest in innovative ventures that generate new revenue streams.

Over time, once it’s clear which new ventures will generate the most value, the business shifts and scales resources to ‘high promise’ areas. That’s the long story. The short version: successful living businesses don’t attempt a big bang transformation. They build on what made them successful in the first place.

For LTS&W firms that means new technologies and disciplines that drive value creation for the consumer, the adviser and the enterprise by embedding digital across the organisation’s architecture. Precisely mapped out and aligned to the business strategy, this digitally-enabled architecture spans:

  • How the brand is positioned and communicated – appropriately and effectively;
  • The realisation of a truly adviser- and consumer-centric experience design;
  • The range of digitally-enabled channels of choice for consumers and advisers;
  • The creation of digital products and services, including 24/7 capabilities.

And, the architecture is supported by a cloud infrastructure and digitally-run operations, and fuelled by data, with analytics as the core engine at its heart.

Review the building blocks of your strategy

Any LTS&W business contemplating this journey should carefully review the building blocks of its strategy through a new digital lens – placing the consumer, and their changing needs, at the core. These building blocks split into three groups:

  1. Build an efficient, scalable infrastructure
  • Change the operating model to support innovation and shorter product lifecycles, enabling experimentation and adaption of propositions to evolving client and end-consumer needs.
  • Build an API-enabled architecture which facilitates the creation of a broader ecosystem leveraging partnerships, allowing support for clients to build their comprehensive financial resilience (even in areas in which the firm doesn’t specialise).
  1. Start new revenue streams
  • Focus on digital product and service innovation to address changing adviser and consumer expectations, including evolving inter-generational wealth considerations and the trend towards prevention over compensation.
  • Create platforms as the connectivity for participants to interact, create, sell and share value.
  • Uncover new profit pools by third-party integration into LTS&W.
  1. Retain and deepen existing relationships
  • Offer integrated, digitally-powered value propositions across portfolios and channels.
  • Utilise data and analytics to provide a high level of personalisation both to the adviser and end-client, and to build personalised products e.g. investment funds focused on investing in an end-consumer’s local geography.
  • Build expanded distribution of existing products through digital channels.
  • Use platforms to build communities and create adviser and consumer ‘stickiness’.
  • Go digital across the whole value-chain to reduce operating costs, improve margins and address challengers from all side.

As I wrote earlier, no organisation should attempt all this at once. Becoming a living, intelligent LTS&W business takes time. It’s a measured evolution, balancing core and new. But it has a clear ‘north star’ destination: reinventing the business, with embedded innovation, and offering hyper-relevant services.

You may want to read my previous two blogs:  Thriving through hyper-relevance: long-term savings & wealth businesses must transform to become ‘living businesses’ and No regrets: Five interventions for life, pensions & investments to become digital living businesses.

I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. If you would like to share your views on the areas I’ve been discussing, please get in touch.

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