Navigating The Waters of Digital Transformation

For several years, digital transformation has been top of mind, and community bankers have been diligently evaluating our infrastructure, identifying needs, and developing our individual approaches. That work is finally paying off in the form of concrete plans: By the close of 2022, 89 percent of banks will have launched a digital transformation strategy, according to Cornerstone Advisors (What’s Going on In Banking, 2022.)

While it has taken blood, sweat, and tears to get to this point, our work is far from complete. With so many priorities on our plates, it can feel daunting to move into the next phase. But we don’t have to drink out of a fire hose; we can start with a single drop in the cup.

At my bank, that first step translated to forming a committee to establish the “how” behind our digital transformation execution. We are not all experts in the same areas, so by assembling a team that includes our president, CFO, IT principal, retail banking leaders, and marketing representatives, we gain diverse perspectives that will help us in establishing a thoughtful roadmap. While our first area of focus is FedNow, we expect this committee to continue as we roll out new digital-first offerings. If you have not already done so, I highly recommend creating an internal group as a concrete first move around your implementation.

Another consideration centers on what your vendors are providing. Check with them not only on current product offerings, but also on any forthcoming plans. Having greater line of sight into anticipated solutions and timing will help ease your journey and may be the key to a more seamless implementation. At a minimum, they can serve as a starting point for comparison against other providers.

We also can rely on the team at ICBA Bancard to provide needed insights around digital offerings. For instance, ICBA Bancard recently issued a white paper, offering perspectives on digital transformation and has just released a step-by-step workbook that walks community banks through how to tackle digital transformation one task at a time. (Check out the article, “ICBA Bancard: Supporting Your Digital Payments Transformation Journey,” in this issue for more details.)

It’s safe to say that regardless of how you start, it is unequivocally the time to begin your digital transformation. Educate yourself along the way, and that knowledge will help you decide whether to jump in the deep end or wade in the kiddie pool a while longer. Thankfully, in either scenario, we have ICBA Bancard at our side to help us navigate the waters.