This blog series is a continuation of IQ Group’s insights with digital engagement transformation for today’s Super Funds. Since 2014 it has been tracking digital engagement preparedness for the Top 50 Funds as they meet the demands for digital services from fund members.
Achieving Digital Fund Nirvana
A Fund’s digital strategy doesn’t stand alone. Like any other strategy, it needs to be grounded in the Fund’s business strategy and link clearly to Fund objectives. These objectives typically include growth, retention and how to better engage with current and prospective members.
However when we think ‘digital’ we tend to think of the end result: a sort of Fund nirvana where all interactions with members are electronic. In reality a digital strategy is the road-map to this electronic nirvana. You can even consider the member’s digital identity as the common key to unlock each interaction across a broad range of digital channels. Of course this includes the various social media channels in vogue. Opening new digital channels is certainly one way to increase member engagement and can act as a beacon for attracting and retaining members.
Existing technologies are now making this journey possible.
IQ Group believes where a Fund is looking to go ‘digital’ they are best placed to adopt an approach that fully understands and is informed by where the Fund is now, where it wants to be, and why it wants to go there. A Fund’s digital strategy that is built on this foundation has a clear set of outcomes.
The Deep Dive
IQ Group recommends Funds have a clear grasp of their business strategy and a clear mandate for adopting or improving digital capability. Also in the mix includes identifying your current operating model and any impending regulatory changes, analyse and monitor emerging digital trends and then make sure you can apply this digital strategy to upstream providers, in particular Employers.
Your digital strategy isn’t meant to be done and left on the shelf to gather dust. For many funds achieving an electronic nirvana will mean the transformation of the business and its technology.
You will need to look into current operational activities and processes, naturally leading to a review of existing customer/member segmentation and customer service expectations. These round out a definition of the current “as-is” customer experience for existing channels and processes and an order of magnitude for the degree of change required.
It’s always about Operational Frameworks
At this point you will need a framework to assess the proposed current common operational processes of onboarding, consolidation and annual statements to name a few. The gaps between best practice and the “as is” state will identify the journey you need to take to deliver your digital strategy.
Conceptual ideas can be assessed and prioritised based on order of magnitude, links to business objectives and business benefits. Highest priority ideas can be refined with more detail around business outcome/criticality, cost, effort, complexity, risk profile and dependencies.
Transformation is about executing the Fund’s chosen digital strategy. This is about sequencing the Fund’s chosen initiatives into actual programs to deliver the business capabilities which require digital enablement
The Fund who Leads – Wins
The clear shift away from “traditional” ways of doing business in super to the digital environment is well underway and gaining momentum. Funds need to reconsider how they operate and communicate with their stakeholders (members, employers and other suppliers) and start developing and implementing a robust digital strategy. Funds that procrastinate in starting this journey may find themselves struggling to make up ground against competitors who are more efficient and who have the capability to deal with members and other stakeholders more flexibly. In our next blog we discuss some of the pain points relating to digital strategy, as well as tips and traps for implementation.
Director of Business Development
Ron is the author of the IQ Group Annual Superannuation Industry Digital Engagement Study. This blog was developed with the support of the Structural and Thought Leadership Group at IQ Group.