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Three Keys to Driving Business Transformation

“To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind.”

— Seneca

Business transformation is a hot topic these days, but without the proper visibility and guidance, transformation projects are simply change for the sake of change. Of course, most executives try to get accurate insight into their operations before enacting change, but many do not have the correct systems, processes or data to drive change that has definitive impact. Forward-thinking organizations that apply innovation and leverage analytics solutions to become more data-centric are the ones that are achieving the most success in terms of making improvements in financial and operational performance.

For example, when Associated Bank, one of the top 50 publicly traded, U.S. bank holding companies, began its transformation journey to improve operations, it was evident that there was a deficit of data to clearly understand how employees were leveraging the systems and applications on their desktops. Not having clear visibility into a colleague’s work day efficiency and productivity made it difficult to pinpoint areas of improvement.

Associated Bank’s technology and operations teams began to explore methods to get the knowledge they needed to make decisions that would positively impact the business and help move their transformation initiative forward. Here are three key findings from their efforts that can help you gain the intelligence you need to become a stronger, more competitive enterprise.

1.    Never Settle for “Good Enough”

Associated Bank is devoted to providing customers world-class service and driving operational excellence while exploring new and innovative ways to drive down the cost to serve. Its leadership team began the transformative process by challenging the entire company to think differently, creatively solve challenges and make doing business easier. This drive for continuous improvement is a critical success factor for any company that embarks on an enterprise transformation journey. Associated Bank leaders helped map a vision for how the business would change and employees helped make that vision a reality.

2.    Understand What Visibility You Have

Associated Bank’s executive team felt there was a gap in the data that would help them understand how employees work, how they interact with customers and how the bank’s technology infrastructure impacts an employee’s work process. The bank’s executive team championed an initiative to identify an analytics solution that could give the enterprise visibility into its employees and their work. A critical exercise in becoming an intelligence-centric enterprise is stepping back to understand what visibility your current data sources give you, knowing where there are gaps and investigating what technologies exist that would help close the gap to better understanding your business.

3.    Have a Crystal Clear Plan to Use the Data

A key part of Associated Bank’s success has been the executive team’s vision for the project. The company’s leaders remained focused on the overall corporate goals this project needed to support. They also helped educate the organization on how the implementation of this new analytics solution would benefit the company, both in terms of financial performance and operational excellence. Caroline Shau, senior vice president for Associated Bank, said it best: “It was important for our executive team to have the visibility needed to make more strategic decisions, but this needed to be an all-in initiative. Our goal was to make this a standard analytics solution to be used at the executive level and down to an operational level.” Associated Bank’s executive team realized that for this initiative to garner success, it was critical to use the insights to make changes that would have a lasting impact on the business.

Associated Bank is leading the way when it comes to becoming a data-centric enterprise, using data collected from the employee desktop to better understand how employees work and identifying ways to improve the processes and technologies within the business. These three takeaways are principles that can be applied within any organization to start on a path to becoming a healthier, more competitive enterprise.