CaixaBank: Unlocking the true value of digital requires more than just technology 19 October 2021

Joan Antoni Cabrer Rubert, Director of Digital Transformation at CaixaBank, explains why a changed mindset is more important than any specific technology. 

If digitization is a strategic priority in your institution, how is this priority translated into organisational terms?

As stated in our strategic plan, one of CaixaBank’s top priorities is to accelerate our digital transformation to become more efficient and flexible. Therefore, all areas share this priority and have defined objectives to achieve this. At a group level, a digital transformation plan identifies and coordinates the top-priority transformational initiatives across the whole institution. 

What new profiles are needed to drive a successful digitization strategy and where do you find inspiration in other sectors/industries?

There are many implications of digitization on the skillsets needed for a bank. Across all teams, new digital skillsets are needed (such as relationship managers assisting customers remotely, business and financial analysts accessing larger sets of data for decision making, and project managers using new collaborative methodologies). In addition, there are specific areas where specialized skills are key, such as digital marketing or data science.  We look for inspiration in industries that have undergone large scale digital transformations, and in particular digital natives in those industries – such as e-commerce, online travel and online media.

What are the dimensions of your digitization strategy (infrastructure, processes, channels, way of working, etc.)?

Our digitization plan is structured around 5 key dimensions: Improving our customer experience and sales through digital channels; revamping our IT platforms; digitizing critical internal processes; deploying advanced analytics across the bank, and building new digital skills and ways of working.

Beyond the benefits already achieved and the expected benefits of digitization, what are the obstacles and what are the dangers to avoid?

A potential obstacle is trying to address digital transformation as a plan only to update systems and processes. Changing mindsets and ways of working is even more relevant! A comprehensive transformation plan should look to change the ways teams work together, make decisions, and measure outcomes. This is key to ensure an organization is ready to constantly improve and be at the forefront of digital developments.

How can digitization be reconciled with the need to humanise customer relations?

There are different ways in which digitization is improving the relationship between our customers and employees. For example, our customers now have more options for in-person contact for assistance or financial advice, wherever they are, via instant messaging or video. Furthermore, our employees now have access to new information on our customers’ preferences, and are able to offer more personalized advice. In addition to this, digitization also helps make digital interactions more personable, such as being able to offer individually personalized experiences to different customers, or offering human-like and real-time interaction via chatbots. 

How can digitization be 'sold' to the company's employees?

Digitization brings in new working methodologies and collaborative tools which at the same time helps empower employees while increasing the level of collaboration across teams. Employees who have embraced these new ways of working mostly report being more engaged and having more fun! Furthermore, employees can benefit from the automation of repetitive tasks, which enables them to focus on more value-adding and engaging tasks. In addition to this, for customer-facing employees, digitization offers many new opportunities to access the customer and to understand their needs. 

To what extent has the Covid crisis changed your digitization program?

While the core of our digitization plan has not changed, Covid has definitely accelerated the pace of change in some dimensions. As an example, we’ve seen an acceleration in the use of digital channels by our customers (in particular amongst senior citizens), as well as an increased demand for remote personal advice. Another example is how we’ve accelerated our adoption of collaborative tools, which are now a primary channel of internal communication.


If you want to join the Efma Digital Transformation community, you can reach out to the community manager Patrick Desmarès at patrick@efma.com

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