The Path to Digital First

Don’t let “Digital First” become an empty slogan.

To truly be digital first requires changes to how you think about member experience, how you develop your digital foundation, and how you build your internal digital teams.

Members at the Center

Deliver an experience that keeps members at the center

Accomplish this by applying the lens of member financial wellness to every aspect of your digital plan and employing design discipline.

  • A focus on financial wellness. This keeps your work grounded to your mission. Ensure your teams understand how the work ties back to the mission — and challenge them when it doesn’t.
  • A disciplined design approach. Using modern design methodology such as Design Thinking and Human-Centered Design creates repeatable processes that push member empathy to the front of the development effort.

Define the Problem

Require your teams to define the problem by sharpening key questions before they move into the ideation phase. Then, backed by this knowledge, teams can move into ideation more prepared to answer three key questions that force project alignment:

  • What are they trying to accomplish?
  • How will they know if it’s working?
  • How will they know what to change?

And if your team can’t answer all three questions, they’re not ready to start.

Flexible Digital Foundation

The world’s a dynamic place. Use the following to build flexibility into your digital approach and you’ll be better prepared to adapt over time.

Allow teams to look beyond the first use case.

While this may require you to invest slightly more time and cost into the initial version, future builds are likely to be faster and cheaper and leave you better prepared to pivot as priorities change.

Create flexibility with modular design.

Rely on reusable elements, and teams will get to focus their time on using existing components instead of rebuilding existing components. For example, by building a member testimonial module, your teams can simply pull that existing module into any web page where you want to show testimonials instead of having to build a whole new page. Build the right foundational modules and you create almost limitless ways that you can combine the modules for different purposes.

Self-Sufficient Digital Teams

Build self-sufficient digital teams.

This speeds the digital process, cuts the time to get your ideas in front of members, and delivers better end results. It also optimizes the flexibility you’ve worked so hard to build into your digital foundation.

To create success, modern digital teams should have skills in multiple areas. Pick team members who can do the following:

  • See. Are they able to use existing data, voice of the member, and market trends to see the next opportunity to improve member experience?
  • Say. Can they talk about this opportunity in non-technical terms to build momentum with their partner teams?
  • Do. Can they put their hands on the keyboard to help take the idea live?

Digital excellence requires your digital teams to be very familiar with business goals — but they also need to be closely connected to other digital experts. This facilitates knowledge sharing and continuous development and avoids creating digital echo chambers.

Be aware of how you’re distributing digital talent across your organization. Avoid putting staff on a technical “island.” They need easy access to peers that can help improve their ideas, and digital leaders who can ensure their ongoing development.

Empower Employees

Give employees at every level the resources and authority to move quickly and be self-sufficient. Build the system right and your staff won’t create bottlenecks by having to take all their work back to IT or other shared services. Be transparent and work to ensure staff understand and support key goals. Set metrics and determine how value is being defined and measured. Be sure to share results with employees and keep them in the loop when there are changes in priorities or expectations.

CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Corporate headquarters: 5910 Mineral Point Road, Madison WI 53705.