Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 year ago

114) #ExponentialInsights: Delivering a More Human Experience Through Automation

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Digital transformation doesn’t succeed or fail based on the technology…

Its success is dependent on the people.

It’s our individual humanity — our own transformation — that matters.

Which is why today’s guest, Jeff Ward, Enterprise Executive at Decisions, says we shouldn’t fear automation — we should embrace it. Because when we automate the routine, we free ourselves up to deliver the exceptional.

In this episode, we discuss:

- How to use automation to deliver a more human experience

- Why automation is not going to take your job

- How automation factors into the employee experience

You can find this interview and many more by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or here.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Banking on Digital Growth in your favorite podcast player.
 

...they know they've got a problem but they're afraid to do anything about right, they want, you know, a a systematic logical approach to how to fix their problem and that's great. But we all know that we are human beings were irrational and we make decisions based upon fast, emotional, instinctual type stuff you're listening to banking on digital growth. With James robert lay a podcast that empowers financial brand, marketing, sales and leadership teams to Maximize their digital growth potential by generating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series where James robert interviews the industry's top marketing sales and fintech leaders sharing practical wisdom to exponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show greetings in. Hello, I am James robert, ley and welcome to the 114th episode of the Banking on Digital Growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series and I'm excited to welcome back Jeff reward to the podcast, Jeff is an enterprise executive at decisions, who is empowering financial brands and their people to automate everything and once and for all, break free from the inefficient revenue draining manual processes that I hear so many complain about and this is a personal passion topic for me when we talk about automation, when it comes to experiences, experiences being nothing more than well defined systems and processes that have been strategically thought out applied and then the secret is to optimize them over a period of time because we want these experiences to result in a positive emotion. Welcome back to the show, Jeff, Thank you very much James robert. Ley, It's an honor, a privilege. I want to start the conversation. What is one thing that you are excited about right now, personally or professionally? Your pick Uh professional is that I joined decisions in March 22 of this year and was able to leverage relationships that I'm very protective of and value in my business each and every day and in the very near future will have some brand new revenue for decisions that I will tee up before the end of july Well, congratulations. That is that is really, really good news. I'm excited for you with that. And just to see your continued progress, your continued growth as you're working with and guiding financial brands and and as a digital anthropologist, you know, I study the intersection of marketing, sells technology, human behavior and...

...and one of the biggest lessons that I have gained through working with financial brands is not found in the industry, but it's actually found from the teachings of the C. Sharp, who is the founder of the Four Seasons Hotel and and is he what spoke on on the idea of experience sharing, the need to system eyes the predictable so that we can humanize the exceptional. And Matthew Upchurch took this thinking even further, particularly for a digital world, where he noted that the opportunity is to automate the predictable, so we can humanize the exceptional. And when it comes to automation in the world of financial services, it can feel like there's so much opportunity to either create or to capture. And because there's an abundance of opportunity, automation can in essence feel like an exercise in complexity and an exercise in frustration. So let's start off the conversation to help the dear listener gain some clarity. Where can we begin this thinking about automation to begin with in the first place? What are the opportunities here? Great question. So, you know what I what I find myself doing just like yourself, is talking to large financial institutions that realize that they have a problem Um and don't really know what path to take, right do they go to the traditional route and employ a consulting firm that offers them 12-24 months to look at their their operations, to look at their back office, to look at where there are inefficiencies are or the other. The other strategy is to internally have the business user tell the development team the I. T. Team. Hey, we need this bill, we need this done, we need it done yesterday. And you know in both scenarios, you're talking about time, energy resources and and a lot of complexity. So when I talked to these organizations, I'm always amazed that two things happen. They know they've got a problem but they're afraid to do anything about it right. They want, you know, a a systematic logical approach to how to fix their problem and that's great. But we all know that we are human beings were irrational and we make decisions based upon fast, emotional, instinctual type stuff. Fighter flight, right? So, you know, when I'm talking to these organizations, I don't necessarily want to say, okay, deer in the headlights, it's going to be figured out how to survive and thrive or way of the dinosaurs. But really think about and we talked about this before we started to think about what zoom has done to the market, right? There was a situation, there was covid everything sat down and all of a sudden Zoom is giving you and I the ability to communicate outside of face to face...

...experience. Zoom gave us the ability to move at the speed of business, right? So if you're talking to an organization, what happens if amazon shows up in your backyard? What happens to the taxicab industry when Uber shows up? Right? All of a sudden it's evolved and survive and thrive or it's the way of the dinosaurs, right? Technology is a capability multiplier. Um, and and when we think about technology as a capability multiplier, let's actually remove the word capability. Let's just call. Technology is a multiplier. Technology will multiply either complexity and confusion on one side of the spectrum. If that's built into the business model or technology will multiply clarity and confidence and commitment on the other side. And I think that's what we're all striving for. At least what I hope that we're all striving for when it comes to financial services because money has a very high inherent cognitive load for many people, money is complex. Money is frustrating, money is overwhelming. And so anything that we can do to reduce the complexity through systems through process, through automation the better experience that, well we we will bring to bear on the other end of the spectrum. Now one of things that you noted is when you're talking with financial brands you mentioned they realize they have a problem. I want to I want to dive deeper into this. What are these problems that they're addressing in these conversations you're having? Sure. So the problem is that they are addressing the problems that they're having is that You know traditionally what they've done is acquired an application, acquired a solution and have some type of IT developments 14 that that helps them maintain that system. Right? The challenges that they have is that as a business user let's say you know if I'm going to move at the speed of business and I'll probably repeat this throughout the day. But if I'm gonna move at the speed of business, let's say that we go back to the financial crisis, Lehman Brothers fails right? Let's say that we have a credit policy that we have been administering in a in a market that is an upmarket, right? And that you know our talents is our risk levels are such to acquire debt, right? And to acquire these credit Phyllis facilities market turns on an instant right all of a sudden that there is risk in the world. And a business user calls up their I. D. I. T. Department and says hey James, hey Jeff,...

I want to I want to reduce our our risk policy by X. Development team says okay great. They say what are your specifications? The business unit gives them the specifications. The DEV team then goes through into their development instance, starts the work, they build it up to the requirements that they've known presented by the business user. They then push it to QA right. QA does all of their testing and they get back on the business users calendar and they say Mr business user, did we get it right? Did we get it wrong? And so if we're talking about the speed of business, best case scenario that took a day and a half, right, your consumer lending organization, how many loans could you do in a day and a half euro to see and I lending institution? How many loans could you approve? In a day and a half? So the exposure is rather large. Right? What I'm talking? And so that that is the problem that we're facing today is being able to position themselves to stay ahead of business. It's a bottleneck. It sounds like so business users because there could be multiple business users in the organization. It all comes down at all bottlenecks around I. T. And a DEV team. And so we're losing time, We're losing efficiency. And and what's the opportunity now to break free from this? The opportunity now is that, you know, with a visual programming language, I can increase that DEV time by 5 to 10 times. And if the business user the ability to make those edits from a dashboard from an email from a from a perspective where they're not logging into the situation, even communicating with the DEV team, but having the ability to change a policy to change an L. T. B in real time. And so this is this is in essence the next stage. And we're seeing this with a lot of other areas of opportunities within a financial brand for marketing to cells to service This this idea of low code, no code visualization and that's why I've been saying, I've been saying this for at least 3-4 years, if not five, the future of growth is not going to be found in the quote unquote doing. The future of growth is going to be found in the thinking because the doing will be augmented by the technology, it will be multiplied by the technology. And so the opportunity and I want to get your take on this. And it's funny because now we can start to connect some patterns of what's going on outside that are really impacting financial. The idea of defy decentralized finance. Now we're not necessarily to...

...decentralize finances, but we're decentralizing and democratizing control by empowering others in the organization who might not have a quote unquote development coding background to optimize these experiences. Coming back to my definition, the experience is being strategically thought out applied and then continuously optimized over a period of time optimization happening at a business unit level. Exactly. Technology has transformed our world and digital has changed the way consumers shop for and buy financial services forever. Now consumers make purchase decisions long before they walk into a branch. If they walk into a branch at all, but your financial brand still wants to grow loans and deposits, we get it. Digital growth can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financial brand, marketing and sales leader, but it doesn't have to because James robert wrote the book that guides you every step of the way along your digital growth journey, visit www dot digital growth dot com to get a preview of his best selling book banking on digital growth. Or order a copy right now for you and your team from amazon inside you'll find a strategic marketing manifesto that was written to transform financial brands and it is packed full of practical and proven insights you can start using today To confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits now back to the show. So the other thing that that you've shared is not only the problems you mentioned there, there's something holding them back, something keeping them stuck. What are the fears that that you hear when it comes to automation? Yeah, well, you know, all of our financial services, all of our financial institutions, you know, are in that business because they're very cognizant of risk, right? They understand they understand how to apply a figure to that risk and get paid for their knowledge of that. And I think that traditionally what what those institutions have done, it's gone to the consulting firms and said, hey, mr, consulting firm tell us where we need to spend our time, energy and resources or going back to, you know, internal, let's go to the deV team and and work it out. So what I'm hearing a lot when I'm having these conversations is that there is still a tendency to fall back to old behaviors on how to deal with this thing that we're calling digital transformation. And so I really think that these organizations should...

...consider ways to test Fintech, test technologies, you know, stick their toe in the water from a land and or expand situation right? Where you know, if I'm talking to a an F. I that's, you know, 10 billion in assets, their technology or the digital transformation strategy, typically today is merged with another organization and by combining efforts and energies, they'll be able to overcome that digital transformation. What I want them to be able to have the ability to do is pick out some of that pain, some of that pain that's built up in a backlog of use cases and presenting that to myself or to other providers that that are low code or some type of one off technology and saying, okay, here you go. Instead of spending seven figures on a 12 to 24 month engagement, right? We want to go for six figures, try this song. I want to address this because I hear this. I think it's a fallacy that just because we merge and we increase our assets size does not guarantee future success. In fact, while we might increase asset, we have this thought that oh well we're going to be able to adopt more technology. Well now you're talking about merging two cultures together and that's an exercise in complexity right there. And the number two digital transformation does not fail because of technology. Digital transformation fails because of the people who are having to deploy that technology. It is a it is a people problem, but it's also a people opportunity and it's what I'm writing about in my next book, Banking on change. Because there are four transformations that have to happen. Four digital transformation for digital growth to be a success. Number one, we must transform the self the individual because individuals make up teams, teams make up organizations and organizations are made up of teams which are made up of individuals. And so when we try to bring technology and it's typically at an organizational level and this is what I want to come back to. If we're talking about individual here, individual transformation that's really about belief structures. Um and what we know to be true, I can't help but think when it comes to technology and even automation um I'm hearing maybe I'm on the front line or somewhere in the middle.

Rumblings that they're talking with an advisor consulting firm. Yeah, we're going to bring in some type of automation. What does that mean to my job? Am I safe? Do I have psychological safety? Because then I'm gonna start throwing up walls and barriers whether consciously or subconsciously. How can we address these fears with others of who this technology is going to impact one way or another? Because once again, I don't view it necessarily as a threat. I view it as an argumentation, a capability upgrade. Coming back to the C sharp systematized the predictable so that we can humanize the exceptional and spend more time doing people things. So you know, I would go back to, I would go back to our zoom example, right? Cohen first hit, I had been, had been in a board, a board meeting in Utah talking to a credit union member organization on on like a thursday. Then I had been at the I. C. B A event in florida, walking around in the trade show, meeting people shaking hands and within a week's time, all of that's gone, right, and I'm going to use this thing called zoom. What the heck can zoom? I've done webex, I've done, go to, I've done all of this and now there's this new thing and at first I was scared, right? I was like, well, you know, what am I gonna do? How is how am I going to prepare for this? What if I say something wrong and it's recorded, right? And so, you know, dealing with that fear, I had to I had to just bring myself to the reality that this is going to make things better and to the reality that this is where business is today, whether I like it or not, right? And so I think many times when these people are afraid of change or, and or that technology could replace their job, you know, I think that's just something to be afraid of, right? I think reality is we have more and more technology in our lives today and we just really need to embrace the fact, leverage that fact and move forward. A great analogy of this would be once again, and as you and I were talking about before hitting the court, the importance to study history and start connecting dots from all different areas of life, from philosophy, from behavioral economics, from technology. Let's go back. It's the late 18 hundreds, maybe early 19 hundreds. I'm a farmer and I've been used to farming with a hand plow and then I hook it up to my horse and not...

...my horses helping. That's an augmentation right there, right? I've gone from the hand plow of me having to do it myself to my horses and augmentation flash forward the tractor, the tractor comes online. Now I have a massive capability upgrade, but I fear the tractor because I've never seen something like it before. I'm going to stick with the horse because it's what I know, it's what I trust, because I just don't have that perception of how could this tractor help me. So I'm gonna keep plowing my field with the the horse and plough where, you know, my friend across the way, well, he's got the tractor and he's got way more efficiency than me and well, guess what? He's going to get my land in five years. So to that, what I would say is, you know what if, if you're afraid of that tractor, right? If I went from, you know, a push pull out a horse and plow, you know, I would say go back and think about what that meant at the end of the day, right? No longer is my back in a, in a situation or a state where I can't walk at night. Now I've offloaded that that hump that horsepower to the actual horse, horses kind of built more for doing that than I am Bill, Right? So, so I would say just think about that experience for a second and then I would say, okay, if you don't want the tractor right, get a smaller tool, get a smaller a piece of equipment that could do the same thing and just try it right, wholeheartedly jump in, stick your toes in the water, see see what the temperature is. I think that you will find just like going from a push file to a horse. There is success there. Yes. Because people fear what they don't know. People fear what they don't understand and that's where the role of continuous, ongoing and training and education comes back into play to make the future literally bring the future into the present moment. So it doesn't feel so scary. And if we're thinking about automation right here in this conversation and low code, no code, what is a commonly held belief when it comes to automation that others in this industry might have, that you would just disagree with, what is it? Common automation? Right? Common belief that others have about automation. Yeah. That you just protect my job. It's going to take my job, right? Technology is going to take my job. You know, if I'm a credit analyst, I'm gonna have some technology that's got a I capabilities by behind it. And no longer am I going to have to be spreading financials, right? I think that's the most common fear. The what I would argue and to what you shared...

...earlier is that let the technology automate the the norm, right? And let you leverage your human aspect of that relationship. Right? Right. That's the importance, right? I need to be able to communicate with my borrower. Got the information. This is what the information is telling me. This is the credit facility that we can do. Not. Looking line by line at the financial information and putting you on hold for an indefinite period of time. Right? I think too, as I'm hearing you talk through this, I I can't help but think about a deeper, really, a deeper conversation that we probably have to address and be aware of as specifically as leaders, the emotional attachment that people might have with their role credit analyst, right? Like I attach myself worth to this specific role here and if I'm being threatened by being replaced by a machine then myself, I know it's a deep, deep conversation but I think it's one that we probably need to to be aware of because in banking on digital growth, I wrote about two experiences I wrote about Hx plus Dx where dx plus H. X. Equals growth. The digital experience plus the human experience will lead to growth. It was through the covid experience that I missed the mark. Like there was one massive experience that that I left out of that equation which is E. X. That's employee experience. And so if you want to retake that formula, I would say it's E. X. Plus Hx plus Dx equals growth, meaning a positive employee experience will lead to a positive human experience that can be delivered through a positive digital experience. And so when we think about automation bringing this almost full circle now, what are the opportunities for automation? Two provide a positive employee experience? That's gonna trickle all the way down to a positive digital experience or a human expert. I mean like like think through that, what are those opportunities coming back to employee? Yeah. I think from an employee perspective, right? I think that's a very interesting dynamic, right? I put a lot of work on on my success as a sales individual. I'm having a great month man, I'm up on top of the world, I'm as valuable as today as long if I'm having a bad month. Well you know that I'm starting to question a whole whole lot, right? And you know, um that that can play, you know, in all different types of facets, right? So you know, as a sales individual where I...

...use automation, I use it to be able to spread my content out better. I use it to be able to have a broader reach, I use it to be able to better understand my prospect. So that when I do have the ability to have a meaningful conversation with them, it's not, I'm not out in left field, right, I'm really, I'm spot on with them. So if I was a credit analyst, right, and I was worried that that my spreading capabilities would no longer be, you know what, I spent my my day doing the meat potatoes of my day, I could be worried about that or I could be thinking about, there is the opportunity for me to instead of looking at one credit package in an eight hour period of time, maybe I look at five or six and then I look at the anomalies within those credit packages that I that speaks directly to my experience and I can have a meaningful conversation with my, with the lenders that I support or I can have a very meaningful conversation to our clients that are lenders support. Now that's the human aspect of being able to go right at what makes me unique, what makes me valuable and what makes me love my job, right? So I would say that's kind of the that would be the perspective I would spend at it. You tell me if I'm right or wrong? Well I like that thinking because now the value creation through the the role you have in the organization, that value creation is exponentially multiplied and that's going to trickle out and that's why I love this, the work that we're all doing in financial services, because coming back to the point, money is complex, money is frustrating, money is overwhelming and you know, it impacts everyone on so many different levels from a relationship level, from a physical well being, from a mental well being. Now, if we're able to go from 1 to 5 that then gets multiplied out through my lenders, I'm a were able to, you know, hit and make a positive impact in so many more people's lives to help them get beyond their financial stress towards a bigger, better, brighter future. I think that's a really good analogy both for yourself personally and how you're using technology as a multiplying capability and then also in this particular case as a credit analyst. This has been a fantastic conversation of fantastic discussion. I want to get really, really practical here at the very end, which to giving giving the dear listener to simple recommendations to recommendations that they can take action on to begin to move forward, to begin to make progress. What's one thing that you would recommend financial brands start doing when it...

...comes to automation going forward? That's perfect to you. I'd say call me No, I would say I would say, you know, wholeheartedly or humbly, really think about what you're trying to do. You think about what you're trying to do outside of the way you normally thought of what you're trying to do, right? Challenge the status quo in your thinking. So if I was to expand upon that, I would I would basically come back to this four digital growth or those exponential growth operating environments, you can be learning, you could be thinking, you could be doing, you can be reviewing but you can only be in one environment at a time so create the space and time to break free from the doing to review what you've done to learn from those experiences to then think about what you can do from those learnings so that you can apply that thinking in the next iteration of doing, do it even that much better going forward on, go ahead. The other thing that I would add to that is then do then do something right. If if if I am strategic in my ways or if I am falling back on the norm right. This is how we've always done it. Think about what you could do with automation with digital transformation In 12 to 24 months. If I decided to do something today, where would I be in 12-24 months? Yeah. And and and I think for that to become a reality one of the tough conversations that I have with so many financial brand marketing cells, leadership teams. It doesn't matter. It's it's to create the space and time to do something new to do something different. We have to clear our plates because when we add something to our plates uh we're gonna probably have to let something go. Whether that even if it's as simple as a belief um what is one thing that financial branch should stop doing to create the space and time to do something even better to automate the predictable so that they can humanize the exceptional. Mhm. Great question. What is one thing that they should stop doing doing business as they've done it always? Yes. Right. So so I mean does that mean that they throw their credit policy out the door? No. Does that mean that they throw their credit products out the door? Know their customers know what that means is is it's okay to fail. But if you're going to fail fail fast, but at...

...least try to do something, right? I mean, we've been talking you and I met a year ago, we met, you know, kind of early coded, right? All of these banks have had this opportunity, this period of time to do something in response to Covid. Right? We've talked about that. We'll probably forget the lessons that we've learned. We may be traveling in the near future. But what happens if delta takes off right, delta virus, that thing takes off. So If those banks are thinking about, well, I'm gonna hire consulting firm and it's going to take us 12-24 months to come up with an idea you're losing clients, right. If the taxi industry knew that Uber was on the way, what could they have done to save themselves a little bit more time, Right? They could they could have done something and they didn't. And look what happened. Think about if amazon showed up in your backyard, what would you do? Would you hire a consultant to say they're going to save me in 12-24 months? Would you roll up your sleeves and say let's go to battle? Right. So I would challenge him to to think about the way they are doing things today in order to get to a do an activity if you will. Yes, because it all boils down to one word. It's just one word and it's an acronym and that word is this, have the courage to act mm the a of Act is to ascend to the apex of awareness. To look behind where you've been to look down at, where you're at, To look ahead at where you could go next on this journey of growth. Because as you look ahead, you will see the territory of transformation that you'll have to transcend. But to bridge the gap between the apex of awareness, what we'll call knowing to get to the territory of transformation, what we'll call growing. Just one thing. It's the sea, its commitment. It's the commitment to begin to apply the thinking, to apply the knowledge that you're gaining even through this conversation and and Jeff I appreciate all of the perspectives that we've shared together in this experience in this discussion. I'm curious if someone wants to continue this conversation with you to continue learning to continue to increase their knowledge, to optimize their doing what's the best way for them to reach out and say hello, you can find me on linkedin, you can find me in my email, you can find me on my cell phone and and all of that is on my linkedin profile. Fantastic. You...

...know what I would offer is that is that you know, I'm labeled as the relationship guy, I want to see success and so therefore it's not just the cheesy transactional type relationship, it's an understanding of your intention, it's an understanding of your transformation and it's an understanding of your commitment. Thank you very much, Jeff. This has been fantastic. I really appreciate you for joining me today on another episode of Banking on digital growth. It's been a lot of fun. Thank you James robert. Ley, it's always an honor and a privilege as always and until next time be well, do good and make your bed. Thank you for listening to another episode of banking on digital growth. With James robert. Ley. Like what you hear, tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review on apple podcasts, google podcasts or Spotify and subscribe while you're there. To get even more practical improvement insights, visit www dot digital growth dot com to grab a preview of James roberts, best selling book banking on digital growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from amazon inside you'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framed around 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits until next time be well and do good. Mhm.

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