February 15, 2017 // By John Kosar
The Executive Leadership Institute and Magenic Technologies recently hosted three distinguished panelists from industry-leading financial services companies: SunTrust, Fiserv and First Data. The theme for the evening was driving innovation and the role of Product Management. Our moderator, Heather Zimmerman, Financial Services Practice Partner for Magenic engaged our panel of experts in a spirited discussion around the changing landscape in the Financial Services and Banking industry, and the push to transform with a greater focus on the commercial success of digital products in today’s market.
The panelists have all been directly involved in Innovation and the Product Management space for many years, and Frederic Potvin, Senior VP, Business Architecture Consumer Business Information Office from SunTrust, shared a few insights as to the external (and internal) forces that were driving the need for innovation. Fred clearly stated that, from the consumer bank side, the greatest driver for innovation is ensuring they have the tools to improve better conversations with their clients. These conversations include employing a wider array of self-service tools, as well as directly enabling the one-on-one discussions between the banker or client representative and the consumer.
Jim Lester, SVP of Product Management and Strategy at Fiserv, commented on the changing perspective of consumers and end users, and how quickly that change in perspective is evolving. For example, at the macro level, Tesla is a game changer with both their automobile and solar integration. He shared that Fiserv is looking at connected devices like Alexa, the intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon. The user can play music, sets alarms, shop, and much more, so the market is changing to meet the user where they want to be met. For example, bill pay using Alexa could be the logical next step. At the end of day, the trend now is that many traditional business-to-business companies are having to consider their services more from the business-to-consumer perspective.
Marianne McPeak-Johnson, Global Head of Product and Innovation with First Data Corporation Network and Security Solutions, shared her point of view of how companies have to think about how they interact and how they are trying to stay relevant because technology is changing so fast. As an example, Marianne pointed out that the perception of the car is shifting, from being the product to being the platform. Looking back at the recent Super bowl commercials, one of the ads pushed the features of how the car is connected to the platform, and how this is changing the engagement model. What’s next might be the experience of having the car drives itself, so the user can shop, look at pictures, reply to emails, and maybe even make decisions on where they want to go next based on geocache ads from nearby restaurants. The digital experience is becoming more and more connected, and the platform is driving innovation to meet the users where they want to be met.
Our expert panelists led our audience into a discussion on common barriers to driving innovation. As basic as it might be, McPeak-Johnson simply stated the need to focus. She said, “People get distracted with new shining object. From a product leadership perspective, you have to focus on the voice of the customer.” Lester continued into the theme of common barriers by highlighting the need for sustaining innovation. He said, “When you have a leading product in the market, the focus on keeping the business focused on incremental improvement is critical.” Another common barrier in many organizations today is approval by committee. Potvin said, “This can be a real problem, but with a Product Owner, the organization can move ahead with their single direction.”
If these barriers resonate with your organization, Magenic can help. We provide several strategic offerings specifically designed to drive innovation – Journey Mapping to better understand your customer and improve their experience, Product Design & Innovation Workshops to connect the product vision to business objectives, Business Value & Prioritization Workshops to determine executional steps, and Experience Design & Prototyping to determine the best path for success.
Product Management within the Financial Services and Banking industry is embracing digital transformation of their commercial product success by overseeing from inception and ideation through design, build, launch, growth, enhancement and eventual sunset. If your organization would like to get started, let us know.