Today marks the almost-anniversary of my first article on insideARM (published 12/18/18), The ARM Industry’s Major Problem; Undervaluing Invaluable Technology, in which I declared, “Your company doesn’t value today’s technology.” When the Innovation Council’s Think Differently series was recently announced, I knew I wanted to mark the anniversary of my initial article by looking back at the progress made since that declaration.
Let’s take inventory as we close out the year and plan for 2020.
While technological advancement has been relatively slow—albeit a point of curiosity—the CFPB’s proposed rule released in May of this year kicked the conversation into overdrive. Fast-forward to September and the Consumer Relations Consortium announced plans to split into two groups: the CRC (the compliance/regulatory group) and the Innovation Council (the tech/strategy/ops group), and insideARM announced a new conference, iA Strategy & Tech. Other industry organizations also began to incorporate technology into their agendas.
With the buzz about “digital this,” “tech that,” artificial intelligence, machine learning, and omni-multi-every-channel communication, how did your plans for digital transformation go? If you are looking down at your feet, you’re not alone. 89% of all companies want to be “digital-first” but a reported 70% of digital transformations fail. This means we, as an industry, need to come together and find out why before we address the how (or you can just click that last link and learn from McKinsey & Co).
Here are some points of resistance I’ve heard from peers across the credit and collections industry:
- Lack of communication - If you’re not communicating across the entire organization that your company is implementing new technology and encouraging everyone to embrace it, you will encounter employee resistance. Your Chief Technology Officer won’t lead you into digital transformation alone and if he or she is left to make all decisions. For instance, someone in accounting (or insert any other department) will feel the stress of unannounced change affecting their normal workflow.
- Lack of vendor/partner engagement - 80% of companies say that digital transformation involves multiple units across the business. We now operate in a real-time world with IoT (Internet of Things) and “apps” that offer instant connection. Enterprise B2B solutions aren’t as simple as downloading an app from an app store, so communication with vendors and partners is critical to success. Yet I’ve heard that some vendors are resistant to working with competitors because they think they can do everything, and some customers are resistant to introduce vendors who could partner to deliver better service because they think this may lead to higher cost.
- Lack of vision and goals - Companies want to text; they want to email; they want to contact more; they want to contact less… you get the point. The obvious goal is to increase revenue, at a lower cost, and to do so compliantly. Yet I’ve observed a lack of coordinated vision in many organizations. My advice is that you take it to the drawing board. Gather all department heads, get input from everyone, agree on a strategy, and then spread it repeatedly through the organization to get employee involvement. Define the vision. Then empower a champion to make sure it happens.
What’s the payoff for transforming your collection strategy and becoming a digital-first organization? Learn about it here: the free Digitizing Your Collections webinar from insideARM’s ARM-U series. Frederic Jacques of McKinsey & Co. and I served on the panel, and we show you the value of a true digital collection strategy.
Start looking internally, at your people, and get the discussion going so that 2020 is the year you take action. Planning starts now.