Building the Next Generation Digital Teams: Agile, High Performing and Hybrid? (Pamela Della Motta, Siobhan Fagan, Barbara Lehman, Holly O'Neill, Nathalie Latourelle) | DX Summit 2018
8:32PM Nov 13, 2018
Pamela Della Motta
But I'm not going to waste any more time up here close because we've got four amazing brands to get to and talk about the digital customer experience challenges and journeys and you're going to hear all about them. And my lovely amazing awesome boss is going to be introducing them. And that's Siobhan Fagan of CMSWire, she's a managing editor for us, why don't we welcome them all to the stage.
Hi, everybody. Thanks for joining us this afternoon.
It's a real pleasure being up here with this group. And I can tell you from the conversations I've had with all of them that I hope we get to all of the information that they have to share because it's a lot.
Last week, I was introduced to a concept called productive disruptors. And this is a term that Russell Reynolds associates came up with and it's to describe digital leaders who not only think outside of the box, but they also can challenge traditional ways of doing things and successfully bring changes to fruition. And I think it's that final part that makes all the difference. So I think that term can be used to describe all the women up here on stage. So with no further ado, to my left I have Barb Lehman. She is the Executive Director of Digital Transformation at Comcast. Next to Barb we have Nathalie Latourelle. She is the lead of digital experience at National Bank of Canada. To her left is Pam Della Motta and she is the Director of Product, Marketing technology at New York Times. And last but not least, Holly O'Neill. She is the Chief Client Care executive and head of Consumer Client Services at Bank of America. So let's get started.
All of you are in the middle, all of us are in the middle of digital transformation in whatever form that comes. And so I wanted to hear from each of you what the tipping point was that pushed your organization to initiate the changes that you're involved in. So why don't we start with Barb and just move on.
Great. So one of the things that as part of this digital transformation that we've been going through is we've been officially doing this for about two years, and we have pilots that we run to understand and to try to push customer behavior, change the way our customers interact with us. For 50 years, we've pushed customers to call us and we're trying to obviously push them to our digital channels. And so we would run these pilots and we'd work across the entire organization. And what we found was, it was taking them forever to do things. We had one pilot that we we're trying to run that took us 10 months to execute. And so when we went and reported it up for senior executives, and we said, look we, we're not going to be able to stay competitive, if we can only if it's going to take us 10 months to make a minor change in the way we interact with our customers. We will be we will, our competitors will leave us in the dust. And so that was kind of the tipping point for us and where we started to really move into organizational agility and what are the things we need to do to empower people to make decisions but also make sure that there's not we, at Comcast, what we see is there's a lot of people that have the power to say no, but not say yes, to the final decision makers. So how do we change that dynamic as well. And so we've been trying to empower, define a team and then empower that team to make those decisions. And get away from hey, I'm gonna forward this meeting to ten of my friends and then they all weigh in as well. So that's been a big tipping point for us.
For us in 2013, I think that we were already doing the digital transformation, but mainly into the ecommerce side of the bank.
The, the capabilities we were already doing that and agile mode as well. But when we were delivering those projects, we could see that we needed an urgent alignment with other platforms and that some of the projects were not delivering as good as result as expected, because they were not taking the whole holistic experience of the customer. So there was a need of content management through all the channels and that's when the pilots like you just came into, to work.
Well, to put it simply, nothing was getting done. That I think was the tipping point. We we're at a point in our transformation where our business model was shifting. Used to be a newspaper company where our main source of revenue was advertising then it came to a point where we declared ourselves a subscription first business where we needed to focus on the customer.
And with that came changes and technology changes in the implementation of or the execution of initiatives. And so we had to learn to collaborate. We had to learn to work with the technology team, the marketing team, works with the technology team, working with a data team, and just all work together in lockstep.
Sure so, at Bank of America, our tipping point really was when we, when we identified that our most satisfied clients were those that were engaging in both our digital channels as well as our human channels. So across our mobile banking app and online banking along with our financial centers and contact centers. And the connection between those channels was really where we had to focus and that everyone had a seat around the table. So how we managed our digital transformation in the consumer business is everyone has a seat at the table. The contact centers, the financial centers, our digital executive, our product management team because it does go end to end. It really starts at how that product is developed, how we deliver it, onboard it to a client, all the way to how we service it. So, everyone has a seat at the table around digital transformation. Nobody is given a pass. And it happens from top down in the organization. So these are these are conversations that are are had with the president of the consumer bank along with the leadership team at very, very detailed levels of, you know, what we want to deliver, what the actual experience is, where we need to close gaps, and where we need to improve them.
So, Holly, I'm going to stick with you for the next one. So looking at your history of getting digital projects done, especially working in that collaborative way that you're talking about, do you have any strong predictor of the success for digital teams or any ideas of what it takes?
Yeah, firstly, have to look at what the client wants. What is the most seamless client experience in that case, and I think we have to look at a community to pay for and really design it not re engineer a process that may be broken, but start from scratch and really think about how that needs to work and given them a clean sheet of paper. So we really do look at client behavior to see what that adoption looks like. Or like, there are certain things that we rolled that does leave that have much higher adoption than others, some surprisingly, very high adoption rates very quickly.
So we do talk about that. And the very front end is we're creating business case in the ROI on individual product projects. That is something that is highly debated because we do have to prioritize we can't we can't do everything so there is a lot of healthy debate around adoption and compliance really want this is this widespread? So I would say, you know, adoption is a big topic. We have enough data now where I think we can be better at predicting what those adoption behaviors may may or may not look like.
So that that's really how we think of it. And there is a lot of healthy debate amongst our organization with an eye towards prioritizing. You know, what's going to be best for the client and
Healthy healthy debates and nice
Yes, it is today.
It's good. Pam, you have a really interesting team that you're you've put together so I was hoping you can speak to that a little bit
Um sure so I I oversee a private key of product managers that were our focuses on marketing technology. And so what we do is we provide marketing the capabilities to do to hit their goals to achieve what they need to do, what they need to achieve and and so we work very my team is in a unique position because we straddle both the marketing and the technology organization. And so we're, we're able to see the vast differences in their culture or able to see how differently they work. And I think my team, myself and my team are in a very unique position to learn from one team and try to bring that learning to the other. So for example, and the technology organization, they're the good at working in an agile fashion. So they do this every day and they are there they're good at continuously learning and
And, you know, in every iteration of what they're building and seeing that it's something that works so well. I'm trying to bring that to the marketing organization there things also in marketing that I can take and helped bring to the technology organizations.
Did you, did you want to jump in Barb?
Just looking. So all of you had to implement some pretty dramatic changes in your organizations. And I was wondering because shockingly, people are sort of resistant to change what tactics you used to overcome resistance and to ensure adoption and the the actual across the board alignment. So I was hoping you could start with that. Nathalie?
Yeah. So I think like am said us we were in marketing, digital platform and mass marketing as well. And we knew when we did the pilot that we talked about earlier that we needed to get much closer to it.
And the it was already doing the development in Agile mode. But what we wanted to try was bringing a new methodology that would in invest into what you would say strategy and the design
In a done download as much and in parallel with the development so it was a bringing the core team much bigger than just the it but with the product development and also the, the marketers and everybody else, you know the voice of customer around a table to be the core team that would develop that. So what we did was like, first of all, bringing all those people and then two weeks down into a location where there's no disruption and we would all a the collaboration rules together, which was you need to put everything on the table, you need to empty the topics at the end. And you need to allow yourself to be vulnerable because nobody as the whole picture, but everybody is going to grow with each other into that. So that's what we started to do.
Did you turn the Wi Fi off during those two weeks
Actually. And though it's always interesting because when people allow themselves to be themselves and to find a common goal that they it affects the way that they view their role into the company as well.
Yeah, I can also add to that because for us, the Bank of America, much of our digital transformation was led with technology and the business partnership versus I think in in past technology typically lead it in this case, it was very much hand in hand the business Strategy really lead our technology strategy. And in order to get in front of the transformation, because we have 10s of thousands of associates who are doing much of this work themselves, right? So their heads immediately go to, well, you're going to transform digitally, but I'm not going to have a job. And so we battled that for a couple of years and really, you know, the transformation for us. And this goes to that High Tech High touch strategy that I mentioned at the front end that we really want our clients to transform digitally use self service channels where appropriate, so that our specialist in our our teams are there and have capacity to work with them when they need a higher touch interaction. So we spent a lot of time communicating that strategy and really driving at home that this was not about, you know, changing our model, but instead creating capacity and skills for our teams to handle more complex issues and to have the time to spend with our clients when they come in. So, so that was, I mean, we've been at this now for several years. But over the last two and a half years, it's been every single day, communicate, communicate, communicate, and I would say we've been pretty, pretty successful in our financial center and our contacts on our channels. You know, people are definitely on board, you know, from a field perspective. So, communication with keys for us.
Yeah, I was just gonna say very similar to some of the challenges we've had a Comcast one of the other things that has helped us is having a North Star metric so metric that really everyone can get around. There's metrics that we have for each lead, you know, when we roll out a transaction, the adoption and what we expect sometimes we see high results. Sometimes we see less than expected. But that Northstar metric that we could wrap our senior leaders around our middle middle of the middle management leaders, and then our frontline teams. And so that really wasn't a way to kind of rally across the organization and also managed to, we have the same issue with our frontline teams around the concern of what that impact was going to be to them. And we've had that continued communication and conversation and discussion on what the change experience is going to be for them and what we expect from them. So it's not just about training, it's about what's the change in the behavior, but it's also where we're in this kind of pilot piece is some of that gets stuck in the middle because you're trying to roll this stuff out or implement it. It's the
The senior leaders are giving us the okay to go but then it gets stuck in the mud in the middle of the organization. And so really trying to commute it's constant communication constantly working at across the, in the entire group at senior levels at the next tier down at your core team level across the organization. And it's this constant communication of back.
But I wanted to add, I think other than communication piece personally what's worked for me is is to listen it's just actively listen and understand where is where's this pushback where's this resistance to change coming from? I found that when you actively listen and you you know, you, you
You make you send the message that they are being heard. Trust becomes part of sort of that dynamic and then when trust happens then when you know when that happens, you're also heard and so if you actively listen eventually you will be heard. And so that's that's been helpful for me to kind of like break down this resistance to change.
So I guess that brings me to my one of my questions which is how did you as leaders, how did your How did your leadership style have to change or did it have to change in order to manage these new teams?
Yeah, I'll take a quick stab. It definitely had to change and listening was actually really key to that it happened still today I was in Phoenix Arizona last week listening to our clients listening to our teammates and actually understanding what that experiences right so so that's really where the leadership style change going all the way from what that actual client interaction looks like, you know, to listening to your teammates where where are they experiencing challenges, gaps and then translating that into what you need to do. So going to the really to the source is where it changed for me,
You know, I'll give you an example. I was actually online, we were trying to automate ordering checks. And so I was an online timing myself with how long it took me an online to order checks and it was 43 seconds. But really understanding that grassroot I felt was really important to our teams to as we tried to garner support momentum for them and and having them see that we were in fact really invested a new the details of the business and what they were experiencing.
I would just add completely agree with that though. one additional thing I would add is that we also have as we try to push the agility is
The organization that I work for is very sometimes directive down. And so how do you how do you empower people to make those decisions? And so what we've done is we've laid out a lot of the information and then have the team that includes a cross functional mix of our stakeholders across the organization and let them help make the decision instead of it being to your to your point about listening. It's not what I it's not what I think it's what, you know, what's the what's the best piece of the people that are the closest to the customers? How does it how do they What do they think is the next most important thing to do.
Creating the framework in which they can?
For me, it was letting go of my expertise. Okay. So I mean, I was not part of that group as an expert and I needed to make space for the other expertise to express themselves so it's more into a leading coach you know, the guide you provide the guidance provide the direction and then after that you let the people find the answers that you know, it tends to ask the the right person like you, Nick likes to do.
So you've all brought up agility and it came up in all of our conversations, you've brought agility into your teams over from it. In many cases, it's having them work together, actually. And I'm just wondering, how do you manage to maintain agility, while also at the same time maintaining the velocity at which you have to move
To me, it's making sure you have a vision of the product, but you define as soon as possible your minimal viable product to deliver and so it gives you room to make choices, continuous choices through the project and making sure that you're hitting the value that you expected at the beginning my vision
Yeah, I agree. I think the iteration iteration just iterating and learning
But I think what's also key is prioritization. Like proper prioritization. Exactly there's just a lot you know my mic my customers are is the marketing team and they've come knocking on my door every day with when are you going to build this What are you going to build that and and being able to prioritize brings a lot of focus to the team and then with that, I think you should also be at least works for me to speak transparent to your customers saying this is why I am building this first over what you want me what you think I should feel
So with the prioritization how do you go about that i mean obviously you have a million different objects moving at the same time
It what is the question read the answer the question really you have to ask is going to bring the most value quickly and Bessemer to the customer. Exactly
For up to do. Could you speak a little bit about how you've used agility and your team?
Sure. So one of the things we've been working on is trying to move the Agile process development teams across our end to end delivery process and it is to increase velocity. But it's also you know, the principles of Agile are also about efficiency, about empowerment and about adding the most customer value. And so while fundamentally we want to go faster, we also want to have those things in place as well. It also you know, when I think about efficiency in particular, I think that again in our current environment what are what we're trying to battle is having a ton of people involved that potentially
Teary from the end product and so what you have sometimes you have a great idea and then when you have an I'm not being sarcastic 100 people weigh in on it you potentially take an idea that maybe had a great great and I'm hundred people and then you get to something that is potentially much less impactful to our customers and so at the end of the day it's really is about you know this is this is the information we got from our customer focus groups or from the discussions we've had with customers we kind of manipulated it to something that isn't as impactful.
Yeah so you have to have the product owner that watch what value and make sure that when you prioritize that will be helpful. And for us. We also added trying to build for the future so sometimes when you build something of functionality or something that you always build it in the context you know, I need that to do that. But when we receive that, we're trying to contextualize it so we can allow ourselves to be building. So the next stories, the next capability or functionality can be built upon that as a basis. So it's like building a toolbox that you can reuse on different stories and things like that. So I was helpful for us to get agility.
And so then testing would come into this and how, how do you work testing into it? How do you how quickly do you have to discard projects that you're working on? I mean, what what's the time frame for something like that family? You were nodding, so I'm going to grab you.
I mean, it depends really great. if we from a task if we gather the learning quickly and we're able to make sort of, you know, shifts or adjust quickly you know as soon as we get the learning and as soon as we figure out whether we have everything in place to make that ship will do it.
Yeah, we have from a testing perspective, a lot of times we'll do testing before you build it, but depending on the functionality or what we're testing, and we do that as well on sprint cycles Now, depending on the volume that's that we're specifically testing to it. It'll take different amounts
And when you don't
Have to test the release
There's different phases to test it. And even after that, you know, let's say that you don't you don't agree on something you do on Sunday. So you have to go in find the pace so you agree to disagree, but you find a version to test right off the bat, you know, so then you just again
Good good enough rather than perfect
So we've been doing a survey of dx for a couple of years now. And one of the top challenges that's repeated every year is the lack of C suite support either funding or resources, etc. And so, or the prioritization of digital so I'm wondering if you could speak and I'm going to start with you Holly is what's one thing do you think the executive team needs to understand in order to lead successful digital first organizations today?
Sure. Um, I would say we're unique in that the support for our digital transformation really has come from the top
All the ways Ryan one hand down through our business. So we do have support but you know, with everything, we do have to focus on that fine experience element of the transformation because not everything has the return that you'd like to have, you know, before you go in and you have to lead with digital capabilities perhaps before you you online, some other capabilities that you have. So leading with client experience in the impact on experience has been critical for us that is our North Star, you know, across the entire consumer space. Every single channel measures see is unscented on it, and it runs through the organization. So, you know, if you ask anyone at Bank of America, what is the most critical I think you'd hear client experience from hopefully all of them that probably most because that really is our North Star at the stage and the transformation and that's how we've garnered the support the C suite as we continue down the path as you know, some of the low hanging fruit is now gone and we're into some of the tougher stuff that we have to keep that front and center with the entire leadership team and it's you know, it's interesting because over the last several years as we've been on the journey for transformation, repent very successful with our efficiency ratios and ready to answer metrics which reflects positively on the business at the same time, our experience has also been going up. So that's been a really important element of the story for us in that we've been transforming the business. It's if the financial profile has greatly improved at the same time, we improve the experience for our clients. So I would say that North Star being said as CEO has been really important for us
So similar at Comcast, Brian Roberts, who is our CEO of the overall organization. Plus Dave Watson, who's the CEO of our cable division has fully supporting the digital effort. We have the right funding for the most part we I think everybody always wants a little bit more. But um, but I think where our challenges that we've had is our organization is a very decentralized organization and its purpose fully done that way which is it allows all of our divisions to really run and decide what they'll accept as delivery of things. We build a headquarters and so it is a process of getting that buy in on every single thing we do that it's going to meet that it's going to meet the needs of their their customers, our customers and so there's an ongoing process that we had to go through over the last couple years it's really really started to pick up momentum but there was definitely a feeling of
We get the digital is important but we have these call centers and we know how to manage them and we practice faster and so there's been an ongoing dialogue
Why break what's working? Work
Now there's a there's obviously other other benefits to digital transformation, including the reduction in calls and then know and obviously the potential impact of the call centers and our front other frontline teams. But
That has been a challenge. But it's actually you know, as people start to see the impact and see our customers, our MPs scores go up and see the impact of it and start to really recognize that to stay competitive. This is what especially as we look across the customer base, there's more and more an expectation that you have these capabilities digitally. And it's just you each year it's it's about raising the bar. It's not about whether you have them or not. So it's it's getting there. But it's been it's been a challenge.
I mean, I don't think anybody would say they're done.
So I'm going to ask a final question and it might be actually unexpected. I'm sorry. But I want to ask somebody asked this of another panel that I moderated once and I thought it was a really great question. It's fun, fun thought exercise for everyone. The question is, if you had a blank check to do anything that you wanted with to change in your organization, or to put towards where, where would you put it? And I'm going to start with Natalie
Instead of lining everybody. I think that we know that the transformation the digital transformation is done at the same time. I think that it's a complete business redesign that we're feeling and it's echoing the cultural transformation that we have to do. So I think aligning everybody on the same basis and find a common goal to reach together and that is probably all I would spend my money and I would give probably more space to the younger generation. I mean we we we hire them to get very specific on expertise but they were born digital by the way so they will know how to get your future clients
I'm sure so I'm not sure money will actually buy this, but I'll give it a try.
I'd like to see it get towards adoption. I think, you know, we have the right agenda. I think we have the right prioritization changes by the day and I think we have the right healthy debate about that. It's the adoption piece
You know, with a client base so diverse, you have to be everything to everyone and I know when in my heart that some of our digital capabilities is is a much better experience for clients and walking into a cancer center calling into the contact center. So I like to check to drive more adoption faster because I think it's a better experience for them. That you can be a part of the change
I think similar with Natalie was say, you know, as we transform, we also need to look at how our culture is transforming. If I could spend money on that. I would and and and i think back to your question, you know, how could leadership's support this transformation? I think it's that because many times the culture of the company is to find the top and if they if if if leadership can be very mindful of that and be deliberate in, in, in cultivating a culture that reflect the values of the company, I think that's money worth spending. Also, I I think,
I think spending money on allowing a company, the company to fail and little bit just to learn and to shift because I think that's where a lot of these shifts happen when you fail.
If we just had that sort of room to fail, I think be ultimately beneficial.
It doesn't have to be always ROI basis and it can be you know, you have to take the leap to take a chance to have that Renaissance that
Are willing to risk failure once in a while
Blank check, Barb.
Yeah so I would agree with a lot of what was already set up here I think the culture pieces that they piece of like you have a grow you know moving people from a fixed mindset which is how do we continue to do things the way we do them today to
How do we how do we how do we continue to get better? What's that growth mindset what's that what's that thing that how do we raise the bar every single day and that is that is a big culture change and I think that would be pretty big check but I think it's something that
But I think it's something that that when we what we've been talking about a Comcast we've talked about a lot today here is you're building your digital capabilities and then your you have your technology layer which is you know, building a one backbone that is we've been calling it digital asset, your operating system and then the last piece here is to have people in process and that's that's the way that's the most toughest thing out of all of this. And for us in particular changing from a cable company to a technology company and staying edited with all the company all the new entrance into this market and so we've got to be able to be a lot more agile and we have to have a different mindset around how we work as an organization,
No, no tangibles. I mean, it's all real, but nothing that you could just write the check like who to assign that check to, but good answer. So I want to open it up to questions from the audience. But please join me in giving a big round of applause to the panelists.
So any questions out there for any panelists? We have one over here. Come with the mic.
Thank you all very much. You're all very inspirational to me since I face and I continue to face a lot of the challenges you express that said, If I'll ask another question, which is if you had to choose where to begin, which is the technology versus changing the hearts and minds, where would you begin?
Yeah, you spoke up first.
Well, because we've been doing that over and over, which is, you know, do you have to make a choice? That's my question. Do you really have to choose technology over how to do things why don't you bring everything together because that's where the the the best results lace which is, you know, bringing the business bringing all the department together I mean, you you tried it, you know, and the other thing So, but start small because you know, you have a small project to prove that you that you can deliver results that are speaking for themselves.
You can, then everybody's going to talk about it and they want to join it.
Yeah, I think I would just say I would start with hearts and minds first, because that feeds into technology, right from the listening from the ground up. If you start with hearts and minds, and you start that dialogue, people are going to get on board with where you're going, and then technology will come with that. So I think that if I had to pick I'd pick hearts and minds first because you have to have that to have a successful outcome and know what you need to do for your clients.
I think I actually would start with a technology
But I think it really just depends on where and your what works for your organization at Comcast. It's always about being able to show proof first. And so a lot of people, there's a lot of talk, the talk and the organization. But if you have some level of small results to be able to show, hey, look, this is what we did. This is the impact of the customer. This is the impact to our, to the call centers, or whatever you're trying to solve for.
That was what I think helped us because it's about prove it now. So I think it's really depending on the organization of what your organization leads to.
I think that you're right, because see, if you're in your business, you would add all of this together. But there is a possibility in that jumbled to bring people together that have different expertise together and talk about it. And so you laugh your technology answer your your vision and the mindset of the people and then after that you're going to build something but you know, you give the opportunity to the technology to answer your knee but you have to have your need all together and everybody exchanging together. That's the the real defense
And we didn't plan this with the one answer on the one side, the other and then between bringing everything together so do we have any other questions out there? Yes, over here. Tom in the middle with a pink
Stole that from me.
Hi, guys, this is probably more question for Holly and Natalya think just from a transformation perspective when thinking about you guys been an actual bank how much of your thinking and transformation process was actually put into an in store experience? So how much do you think about that and are you actually actively combining your digital experiences with them the in store experiences with the customers?
Absolutely. So our financial center team, our digital team, our product team, our call center team, amongst others, we all talk about how this experience needs to work together so that the digital experience is looking directly at the store experience, right? How can we make that better? How can we weave that into the digital experience? And I think if we didn't do that, we would get it, we would definitely get it wrong. Because, you know, we only have one client who goes into a financial center or calls in or uses our app, it's one client. So it's really one experience. So if you're not connected there between digital and the store, you'll lose so we are absolutely very connected,
Nathalie, did you want to weigh in on that or?
It's all part of the customer journey that you have to address. Like she said, You know, so you have to map it. Oh, yeah.
Excellent. That is all we have. time for questions. We do have a quick break and then we have the breakout sessions at two o'clock up there. But how about one more round of applause for this amazing panel.