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Nigel Garner
DATE PUBLISHED
03.09.16

Fintech and techfin: which way around was it again?

At Answer Digital, we believe what’s really important is the digital change that companies undergo, how they drive this change and the outcome for customers and the organisation as a whole. How businesses label themselves is irrelevant by comparison. This isn’t the case for finance companies alone; it rings true for other industries, too.

In recent months, we’ve seen some businesses establish satellite digital offices – small, independent studios or ‘labs’, often in the trendier parts of town, where space is at a premium and competition for talent is high. These labs are populated with crack teams of developers and consultants and tasked with thinking digitally and transforming processes and products. Kept separate, these teams can work fast and unfettered by the firm as a whole. Or so the thinking goes.

One of our clients has taken a different approach. Its funky, fast-pace lab is located slap-bang in the middle of its open plan office. Everyone in the company, from mailroom staff to senior consultants, can’t help but walk past (or even through). The crack teams of developers and ‘agile’ workers are made up of seconded members of staff, not experienced hires or consultants. Very quickly, new ways of working have spread. ‘Rapid delivery’ and ‘fail faster’ are phrases on many people’s lips.

Our view is that when an organisation attempts to effect a digital transformation, it needs to do so from its core. The required change is cultural as much as anything else. Satellite labs will be attacked by the ‘immune system’ of an organisation’s existing culture. Bringing digital change into the heart of an organisation, on the other hand, will ensure that change spreads like a virus, to complete the medical metaphor.

Businesses that take the latter approach will empower their own people. We work with client teams from the inside to deliver transformation together. This way, everyone has a stake in the new way of working. They define a new culture, rather than have it imposed on them.