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Courtesy of Liberty Group Limited - Standard Bank's Oscar Stark, below is a transcript of his speaking session on 'Making Rain - The Digital Transformation Journey of an African born and bred multinational Insurer' to Build a Thriving Enterprise that took place at the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Summit in Financial Services Live.
Making Rain - The Digital Transformation Journey of an African born and bred multinational Insurer
Internationally organisations are digitally transforming to maintain relevance in the market and towards customers. The more ambitious, are reinventing themselves into platform organisations, redefining their growth prospects. This presentation highlights the journey of one such ambitious African multinational insurance organisation, taking a behind the scenes architectural perspective into some learnings:
Presenter Cell phone number and email
African born and bred multinational insurer, one of my favorite titles of a talk, and if I could, I'd like to invite Oscar start to turn on his camera and join us today.
Fantastic. Oscar, good to see you.
Oscar is a seasoned IT executive and a financial services veteran who specializes on driving the transformation that redefines organizations in a digital world.
He focuses on innovation through transforming enterprise architecture, setting up data as an asset, an important point.
And building the resilience that protects organizations. He is currently the Chief Strategic Enterprise Architect for the Liberty Group, and joins us from Pretoria, South, Africa.
Oscar, thank you very much for being here and being willing to move your presentation to this slot. That's it's working out very well. Let me turn the stage over to you.
Thank you very much.
Thank you, Chris.
Good days and gentlemen. As Chris supply chain introduced, I'll be taking you through a bit of a presentation, getting a bit of a different flavor to it.
So today, I'm going to talk about making your writing, And I'm going to share with you the journey of creating value for an organization.
And so, hence the proverbial association of making rain.
But just before we get into it, it's probably worthwhile to appreciate for this story and just pause for a moment to think through how you actually deal with complex digital transformation.
Quite often, people talk about the topic quite clearly.
And people kind of assume that it plays out as a single change intervention that kind of ripples through the organization and delivers the required change, has become a fictive and efficiently.
But that's probably just wishful thinking, and I'm thinking most of the people online can kinda resonate with that.
The reality probably more looks like watching rainfall in a pond.
The jobs create various points of impact that have differing spheres of insurance, and as the clouds in the cloud, they change into the organization.
This very much reflecting how digital transformation actually plays out in organizations.
So basically set the scene for this presentation.
I'm going to introduce you to a company called Liberty, Not to be confused with Liberty Mutual URIs.
And this is actually an african born and bred insurance organization was founded in 19 57 by Sir Donald Gordon based on his own personal belief that everyone should have an opportunity to grow their wealth and leave a legacy.
This was something that was quite dear to his heart, because he first saw how his dad struggled in retirement to make ends meet after working hotties whole lot.
And so that passion pretty much nearly based, help drive a lot of the growth of the organization over time.
And so, liberty to expand it, not only its offerings, but also its geographies in which it participated in business.
And through the growth of the organization, you also see a trail of acquisitions over time.
Um, of late, liberty's, longstanding relationship with Standard Bank, which actually dates back to 19 78, Has evolved to the point where a standard bank has now acquired all the shares.
In Liberty Group, making it now part of the largest standard bank group, ask who is Senate Bank.
Senate Bank is the largest financial services organization on the African continent.
And so if there's one thing around the background of liberty to take out of what I've introduced you to, is that liberties always kept on evolving over time dealing with different levels of complexity.
And this has actually become quite pronounced as the organization embarked on its digital transformation journey.
Especially with the focus, moving towards a platform business model.
Another perspective, to liberty lies in the actual business strategy.
Now, the strategy has been designed to address various areas of focus such as improving cost to income ratio, and increasing the customer relevance.
And so, the strategy then framing, will propelling move the organization towards an intended platform business model in future, so, central to the strategy sits three areas of focus that, in their own right, carry different time horizons.
Looking to the left of the slide, you'll see simplifying the business pretty much carrying a short-term focus.
Improving the complex stiffness in the market is more a medium term reality.
Then, in the longer term, actually delivering towards this transform business, which is termed a digital, human augment, platform based business.
It's quite a mouthful, but it's trying to capture all the essence of what the characteristics of the platform business needs to deliver towards.
So naturally from the strategy and the implication of the different time horizons, there's various questions that actually emerge within the organization around what the future looks like. What capabilities are required, and how does one actually deliver towards that.
Recognizing that, the activities within the organization, that play out in the short-term point, check the ones that actually built that future platform outcome.
These type of questions typically manifest as initially a bit of an emotional crisis, all sorts of organizations.
Now, how does the outcome of the strategy actually relate to the role that you find yourself in today?
How do you know that the hard work that you're putting into the projects that you're delivering now actually is going to be part and parcel of that future reality?
And recognizing that you're talking about a different business model, a lot of people are asking, what is this platform business all about?
And so trying to find certainty in the future actually starts driving a lot of anxiety within the organization.
So that drop to some extent friends.
But I referred to as an architectural conundrum where people tend quite often to the architectural team and ask them, you know, what does the future look like, wanting to know, with certainty, recognizing that the realities around them are actually quite uncertain.
To some extent, it ties to the analogy of someone in water, can see the water around them, but they're not exactly sure where that arises is.
For reference purposes, while we go through the presentation, when I refer to digital transformation in this discussion, I'm kinda referring to the leveraging of digital technologies to actually transform an organization's ability, and then the bullet Ts actually then allow the organization to embrace different business models, like platforms or take partake in ecosystems, which actually allows him to compete differently in the market.
This digital transformation, actually, is quite a pervasive reality for an organization, as it cuts across all the aspects listed on the slide in front of you.
And so, what you see is, organizations typically starting to look at different ways of driving engagement towards customers, and rendering quite unique experiences for their customers to help differentiate them in the digital context.
Business strategy itself, actually is allowed to compete differently from a traditional linear business, as they can now start driving scale and re-use drawn capabilities that allow them to cloud network effects Structure.
The organization also needs to adapt itself, to actually start complementing more value stream focus for delivery.
While the culture of the organization needs to drive high levels of collaboration and agility to keep up with the price demand in the organization.
Now, this embrace of digital transformation does require a lot of soft and hard skill development in organizations to ensure you've got a robust talent pool.
And while new technologies like cloud help enable more rapid verrier outcomes for the organization, one is to appreciate that data is also got a quite quite an important role to play.
As an acid let's just around making decisions, but allowing the business to actually tap into new market opportunities.
You would agree listening to all the change and is transpired within the organization.
It is actually, it sounds pretty daunting. I think the realities of it is quite true.
And so, where do you actually start this?
This journey of digital transformation?
You probably need to start off with the basics. Actually, just building some basic confidence for the organization.
What else? Why confidence? Now, recognizing that the introduction of the strategy initially is exit with levels of uncertainty and emotion.
This is especially true for people who are trying to relate the world they find themselves into the one that represents the future.
And this is what I refer to as the architectural conundrum, which is depicted on the slide in front of you where you kinda dealing on the far left with the emotional realities and uncertainty, but the strategy demands of you, to actually deliver tools, measured outcomes, this framework that we pulled together to help support our organization to go through its digital transformation journey.
You'll notice it's got a deliberate split between the business conversation to the top, and what actually will enable that outcome.
This was done to help ensure we can focus the business conversation around the requirements and minimize the solution bias that typically comes to the fore when you have these conversations.
Thus ensuring the enablement is a separate conversation from those outcomes.
So I'm going to use this as the backdrop as we go through the presentation.
You'll see it on the top right of the slides as we start progressing through through this conundrum to a point of resolution as I kinda continue telling the story around the digital transformation of liberty.
Now, the big question is, typically, what does the future actually look like?
And, given the uncertainty around that, we've used the visual aid as a bit of a safety blanket to help support the conversations for the novice.
At least, they've got a picture they can point to when they engage in the conversation.
Then, for the experience, it creates the certainty on which they can actually start building the conversation as they start applying some of the implications of the transformation.
You'll see this picture has been set up in a way that it actually transitions from where we are on the list.
To where we want to be on the right as part of our future outcome tied to the strategy and so I'm quickly going to orientate you around the picture because this visual anchor elements in it actually presented areas of concern to our organization as part of delivering to strategy and digitally transforming our organization.
So starting at the top, more on the business end of the conversation.
Organization being enlisted and regulated financial institution had a defined set of matrices that we, which reports back into the market, shareholders, customers, and society at large, and we re-use these measures, in the context of where we wanted to be, to start sketching out to people.
What expect the organization will be delivering towards.
In a similar vein is what we use to kind of talk to the world at large.
At the bottom, from an enablement perspective, to the lift, we have that to do to the organization, that perfect time, we had various processes and systems that actually helped enable the organization. And they served us well in the past.
But as we look towards this digital future, they're not necessarily going to help us if they actually carried levels of technical and process that would prohibit us from being competitive within a platform world.
And so to the right, we borrowed an MIT model to help convey to the organization how we should think about this platform business.
Terrorists visit three dimensions: first being the customer experience.
Ensure that there's a deliberate experience and engagement that will be driving within a digital context towards the customer.
The second is the content that is packaged to be delivered within this digital context, And the third is the actual platform that enables both the delivery of content and supporting that customer experience that the organization needs to establish.
We then went back to just embellish habits around this change, especially from an enablement perspective, by explaining to the organization that the applications that are on premise, as related to what's depicted on the left, will diminish over time. As an organization, We start embracing what the cloud actually has to offer for us.
The chart was not used as a technical fed factor.
It was actually a business decision that the organization has taken.
because the view was that the cloud allowed us level first cost variability and allowed us to more readily access solution sets to solve all problems as part of the business at large.
And hence, it being a fundamental to get in play to support our organization's digital transformation.
This message, then, emphasizing to the organization that there is going to be change.
To the center of the picture, we depicted the different pathways that the organization could take, as we went about executing the work to help transform the organization.
This picture was actually created by the Center for Information Systems Research at MIT friends, these four pathways.
Number one is a pathway that actually goes with a strong focus around industrializing the product offering of the organization to be relevant in a future ready environment.
Now, for Liberty Future Ready, meant that we actually wanted to operate within an ecosystem environment of the base of our platform business.
Pathway two took a deliberate drive towards driving the customer experience, complementing that future really Arca.
pathway three is kind of rich string between and actually presents a bit of a midway approach to transforming the organization towards a future release date.
And then number four is actually just not bothering with the existing organization, but draw the setting up a new business that's already set up to be relevant in a future ready set.
In the case of Liberty, it was evident that the strong strategic focus around customer would support taking off too.
driving a more integrated experience to ensure we can actually stay relevant towards our customers.
But in conjunction with that, our public houses recognize that for them to be irrelevant in a platform.
Or they would have to start industrializing the offerings taking off one on an average day. She had to ask the organization, which was the primary path be taking. The answer would be off, too.
So, looking at this, in summary, the picture highlighted where the organization was moving from, to where it needed to be in support of delivering towards the organization's strategy and driving our digital transformation, essential to realizing this outcome was how we actually co-ordinated our efforts to ensure that we can drive the required transformation.
And this level of conversation, then, framing enough of what the future entailed to allow people to start getting engaged.
But as comfort levels jimmie increase in the organization, and people get comfortable with the picture, they better understand what the shape of the futures, then naturally want to engage in a deeper level of conversation, more detail. Which then typically goes down the path of looking at sequence of execution and delivery priorities.
And the conversation is typically disguised as a set of questions around, how do we get there?
This question is also January requiring a lot more detail to equip people to make the right decisions.
one needs to appreciate that.
Part of what the business wants to understand is how the key applications, which actually supports their primary business processes, are going to be impacted.
And so, to add in the appreciation and the nature of the applications we have within the organization, we drew a picture to start compartmentalizing the application landscape.
As depicted on the left of the slide, we framed this as a strategic architectural view for our organization and the groupings of the applications were done based on the primary use with in our organization.
This layered architectural diagram then got aligned to what you're seeing on the right, which is this understanding around the platform world.
In a way that the organization could start understanding the relationship between their favorite loved applications, which actually represented their business processes, and how that would kinda talk to this platform world.
That thing carrying forward some level of familiarity around the business operations so that they could actually start appreciating how they need to start thinking about that from a platform perspective, and the future context in which those processes will be playing out.
We once again, utilize, but over catalyst of change angle here. I'm referencing.
How are we actually going to change the application landscape?
And this was done to color in more of the details of the level of change that we were going to play out for the organization.
The next level of detail typically start to which applications we were going to decommission, which ones we thought were adequate for future, in which new ones we're going to be introduced, that are actually talking towards embracing some of the newer technologies that we thought would be prevalent for our success in the platform world.
And so this enhanced understanding allowed the organization to start really getting into the grip of the change that we would it playing out for us.
Now, one thing to mention is that the change an application was not a 1 to 1.
Replacing one old application with 1 new 1 actually use this opportunity as an application consolidation effort and radically transform the application landscape of the organization to reduce the current application footprint.
But also compliment the business outcome to start getting a better handle on our cost expenses in a way that we can actually start moving into the world where you can drive your supply and demand more closely and have your cost profile complement that.
The other critical aspect was ensuring people understood the sequence in which the future oriented building blocks had to be led.
This serves as an anchor to help the organization think through dependencies, in delivery in their respective initiatives, but also helped us identify where we had to elaborate a bit more to ensure that we can actually establish these common building blocks as re-usable assets for the organization.
This case, we frame the reality that we first needed to get the cloud foundation established. If we wanted to use the cloud. As mentioned, we believe the cloud could provide levels of cost variability, and give us really access to solution sets. That allows us to solve four problems much quicker than what we could do in an on prem world.
Some of the prior work, we did, just testing the cloud services on the cloud, and that's just the facts.
That, there's a working assumption, that your data is actually readily accessible, said it.
You can actually use those cloud native services, so the next step for us to have wasn't sure that that accessibility was addressed.
And that we did through establishing an enterprise data platform, This then, enabling us to start playing out some of the benefits that we envisioned as part of the transformation towards customers and intermediaries, and driving unique digital experiences and supporting the real options that we represented as an organization to them.
The tail end of the story, though, is around the transforming the backend.
As mentioned on the previous slide, we skipped the scenario where we were going to change the application landscape, where We wanted to be sure that we actually decommission the applications that we're not going to be part of our future, in a way that we were not carrying on this legacy.
And we did that through actually calculating the savings, or switching off those applications, plugging them into the budgets, to help incentivize people's behavior, in a way that the different initiatives could actually start playing out towards this intended outcome.
So, for these kind of building blocks framed almost as a bit of an X axis, we depicted on the Y axis, the future platform, and then, we went about transposing, the respective initiatives, to show how they would relate to both establishing the building blocks, but also contribute to the capability built, which resulted in the platform for the organization.
This base of understanding will allow the organization to get to plan for delivery, but, with all of that said, how do you actually end up influencing the outcome of the specific projects?
So, as I mentioned, central to the success is actually this delivery to help ensure we can actually digitally transform the organization through the various initiatives. What gets delivered in the short term, actually, both towards delivery, in the long term of the platform business?
And so we wanted to ensure that these initiatives are all well co-ordinated, because it actually serves as a critical success factor.
So what we did is at a business level, we actually plotted the intended outcomes from the different projects to deliver towards the organization's future release.
And this was done based on developing a Christian name.
That actually allowed the project teams to map out their intent around their initiative in a way that one could actually account for it.
It also helped us actually have a few interesting conversations for you, could ensure that the nature of the project shaped up to what the organization required.
As opposed to potentially what the project team floated had to deliver towards.
And you could actually start picking up initiatives where people thought that they are actually delivering to all of the needs of the organization, as opposed to just focusing in delivering the portion of the overall jigsaw that we required as an organization.
This pictorial then also allowed the business to appreciate the interdependencies between these projects with the data given the visual nature of it which then actually flowed into improving the planning if that.
I didn't mean ... level.
We created a bit of a different perspective, once again, kind of using the different pathways.
But we created these zones that you see in front of you depict where we saw future technologies actually dominate the landscape.
And so the reference in this context allowed people to evaluate if their projects we're actually playing towards these dominant technologies.
And she's trying to minimize the interpretation gap of what technology is represented in the future context for the organization.
So, with all of that kind of planning behind you, the next logical step, and kind of trying to close that gap, going from the kind of an emotional towards tangible, which could be measured, was actually creating a level of tangibility.
And so, what we did is, having said that the Cloud was actually a significant role at a significant role to play for our organization.
We use the Cloud program as a vehicle to start showing some of the tangible benefits that live in this future.
That is part and parcel of our organization's digital transformation, but also complemented the organization's business strategy.
So, early on in the cloud journey, while we were actually still getting our feet, which we worked with the business to identify two use cases, that allowed us to show the power of the cloud.
But more importantly, solve material business problems.
In the one example, we were able to show the computing power of the cloud by calculating four billion lines of data in 30 minutes.
Now, for anyone who's a cloud native, that doesn't sound like much, but you need to understand it in the context of what the business was used to.
That four billion lines of data ran for a week in calculation mode, then would typically fail. So for the first time, then we would actually see the results of what the four billion lines of data represented once calculated.
The other one focused on showing how the cloud could support better decision making.
This was by increasing the ability to actually drive analytical outputs to judge market movements.
This market movement calculation in the on premise world was typically run once a week, but we set it up in a way that you can run it as, and when required.
The net effect of it was a significant financial reduction to hedge market investment risk for the organization.
So, both of these examples not only delivered tangible benefits to the business, but they had a positive economic benefit for the organization in the short-term.
These type of results that started serving as examples for our organization, around what that opportunity actually looks like.
Bringing in more tangibility about what the future could hold, and ensuring that the efforts actually start driving towards similar types of outcomes of value creation, as we played out our digital transformation journey.
But, with all good things, the proof is in the pudding.
Um, and quite often, when you're working on a transformative type of initiative, it feels a bit like reading the fortune cookie.
She is not good enough to actually judge the effects of the digital transformation.
So, what we did is, we recognized early on that people are not always sure what to measure, and how that the measures would actually relate to telling the story, if we're going in the right direction or not.
So, in our case, we actually tried to frame as depicted on the slide what are some of the important measures for us to appreciate in the context of this digital transformation journey?
Firstly, we wanted to understand if we were removing and then kind of what was moving.
And so, as the organization started mobilizing and that became the pervasive norm. We wanted to ensure that the issue was actually driving us in the right direction.
Why, before we got into a conversation of are we moving fast enough, and how can we accelerate that?
Then the next few slides, I'm just going to connect color, connect the dots, and color in this measurement, narration.
But the other important thing to appreciate is that all of these measures aren't equal depending on which level you're looking at it, You know, be strategic or tactical or operational.
That was also important to ensure that we can actually have the right data at the right level and organization to infants, The outcome.
So an operational level, the question was more if we were moving and recognizing the results of initiatives might be a few months out, before we could actually properly judge the value of the different projects. We wanted to at least account that the projects were underway. We need to keep in mind that these projects were already plotted in terms of their contribution to the overall digital transformation. So we weren't too worried about what they were going to do. We just wanted to ensure the operational level that they were moving.
At a tactical level, the prioritization sequence was more important to support our planning efforts going forward.
Thus, understanding what was moving, played a critical role.
An example of where this was allowed us to actually pick up on an initiative that were perpetuating the wrong kind of targets.
That was 1 when 1 of the future applications that were supposed to support the customer engagement was actually starting to source data from on premise source systems as opposed to from the Enterprise Data platform.
Nice shirt in the short-term, you kind of have the data, and you can make the application work.
But in the longer term, Windows on prem applications get decommissioned, you're forced to actually go and re-establish your data sourcing, which typically erode some of the value that you're looking for in these common capabilities.
Then notice, Dziedzic level, one wanted to judge if the overall digital transformation was actually maturity towards the organization's stated strategic intent, and that all the various aspects to the entrance in the organization started. You know, this is quite pervasive rheology, going from customer all the way down to data.
We're actually kind of ticking towards the intended outcome.
Now answering this question, we actually ran a survey, and we've run consecutive surveys to kind of judge how we progressed over time as we mature the organization's digital capability, but also maturity in our journey and delivering towards that.
An interesting observation I'll share with you that we saw come through is in the early days when we did our first measurement, general perspective of staff was that at best, we were an industry laggard as giant to digital transformation.
About two years into the journey, we took another measurement point, and the perspective changed. Fundamentally, people felt that, we were actually starting to lead as a digital transformer in the industry.
Now, this is one case due to the increased tangibility, which started from the various projects delivered, but, on the other hand, this testing, to kind of closing that architectural continuum gap, helping the organization progress from the emotional to what can be measured, as we actually delivered on our digital transformation journey.
So, reflecting on what is evidenced in the measures and cutting across the various aspects of the organization, It actually highlights the simple reality. Creating value in a digital transformation is actually creating rain.
It is the multiple interventions that all influence the required abscam over time.
That combined lead guilt, the desired result.
Thank you very much.
Oscar, thank you very much. I'm going to turn on my camera. Maybe you can turn on yours as well.
I just realized you didn't have your camera, and I was watching all of your slides.
Oh, goodness, OK.
OK, you're there now.
All right, fantastic. So let me doing some juggling on screens.
Alright, perfect. Look.
Um, I was thinking I was watched I watched a video not too long ago about.
It was a civil engineer.
and the civil engineer was on the group that had to rebuild, Frank Lloyd Wright's falling water.
I don't know if you're familiar with that house.
But Frank Lloyd Wright's falling water is a beautiful home, but unfortunately, it had some civil engineering challenges that evolved over time.
And this documentary went into incredible detail in order to make this beautiful thing: what it was, and make it work.
And I'm listening to your presentation, and I'm thinking, In order to make a business, be able to be nimble and grow and adaptable and scale and and, you know, keep, just like this house. Is is, is a house to be lived and so that was, I just thought I'm comparing you to Frank Lloyd Wright. That's what I, That's what I thought I'd tell you.
You see, the architecture, well, I guess, it's, you know, the word architecture is used in, in IT for a reason.
Because from a technology point of view, that is effectively what it is.
It's building the same kind of structure. You have to understand the function of the business. You have to understand how it's going to grow, and evolve and be used.
And I think you just gave a great explanation of one big companies journey into making that happen. So let me see. I've got a couple of questions for you. Let me get, let me get through, it does as well.
How about, I mean, someone always asks this question, and I think it's important, but unfortunately, you're probably going to have to give me some conditions around it.
So if I say to you, How long does it does it take the organization to reach this?
So maybe you can answer that question, in.
How long did it take is important? But can you talk about why it took as long as it did, or what would have made it go faster or slower.
I think that would be really helpful.
I think the success of what you're looking at is actually a function of about a decade's worth of work in the organization, know the organization.
About 10 years ago I started moving from an application centric architecture to a data centric architecture.
At that work not played out, a lot of the preparation work would be missing to actually start supporting this kind of session.
Think the crux of what you're looking at day on the presentation is roughly about 3, 4 years worth of work. That is sort of coming together.
But a lot of the Kindling ebeling efforts, like starting to build a proper API, service, like getting your data accessible, starting to change people's heads, actually started happening prior to, we played out the bulk of this work over the past 3, 4 years.
Right. That, it's that, that's why I asked the question, the way I did.
Because in order to say, how long does it take to get something, the real question should be starting from what?
Accept that whole shift to data is an incredibly important point.
And so, that's what I think, as best people are listening, You have to figure out where your starting point is, where your organization is, and then, do you need to, you manage expectations within your organization that we're gonna, It's gonna take us two years to get this data piece shifted over. We're gonna, do, we're gonna have to do this?
Or, you know, because that that's, I think that happens, a lot of times when people watch presentations, they think, Well, we can go do this two, and 2 or 3 years, we can knock all out, right? And then, they go and say that to their boss.
And the boss, You know, I've never met a boss, whoever gives you more time when you've given them a certain period of time, Right? The CIO, the CEO, says, You told me two years.
Show me what it's gonna look like in two years, important to know that, that foundation, that base, and thank you for going into that. How about?
So, we, there's such a major push toward building the quote, digital business to digitally transform.
If you look at the benefits of what you've got, which is great, and that that's important.
What would you say, the toughest part of making that happen?
What would you say the hardest? But, in other words, What can people be prepared for when they do it themselves?
Now the word digital transformation is almost a bit of a misnomer. What does that mean, right? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Because your biggest problem is actually people.
You need to get people to start appreciating what the opportunity is and what needs to change.
Depending on the cultural fogger of an organization that could be easy or difficult conversations, are taking us as an insurance organization.
That business works in a specific way, You don't want to adversely impact the economic outcome of the business.
People are northeasterly that progressive and embracing change.
So having the conversation leading up to get people's headspace to start opening up to the opportunity.
It takes a bit longer, but now that you've started building some of these assets, and they're starting to produce value, the reality is that you actually need your business to appreciate what the opportunity is and create more value, because that's the kind of next frontier around this conversation. It's not just kind of transforming the business.
Next, you wanna grow your business and not understanding what those abilities are that you now have, is going to limit you.
And that's kinda demand of people to kinda step out of their comfort zone and start appreciating some other realities that otherwise would have seemed quite foreign, but practically, this is the world that digitally transformed organization needs to embrace.
Right, You know, I'm listening to this, and I'm trying to put what you just said into a few people's heads, and, say, and not put it in there, but say reading people that, you know, in your organization.
And it feels to me, like, this is a very sophisticated conversation, and sophisticated conversations about advanced Technologic, technology and technological applications scare people who don't know what you're talking about, You're in your forties, You know, I don't know, maybe even you're in your thirties, you're in your fifties, somebody comes in and starts rambling off all this stuff. You don't understand.
You don't want to raise your hand and say, I have no idea what you're talking about, or I I know this amount, and you're asking me to know this amount, Right? And so what you end up getting, I think, often times, is just the wall of resistance.
Know, I'm not going to tell you that I don't understand what you said, because it's gonna make me feel stupid. So I'm gonna just say, oh no, that's dangerous, and that's reckless, and we can't do that, we've never done it, right?
So there's this huge element of, without insulting someone, educating them to understand what this stuff is and how it can work.
And then I feel like then you kind of uncapped their creativity because now they're with you. Now they'll work with you because they don't feel dumb, they don't feel exposed.
We had a talk yesterday, oh, you know, all about the heart and the head change.
And I feel like sometimes we, project managers, executives in this space, can run really fast, because we see what it is.
And maybe we forget, we used to not know what this was either.
Right? I think, I think the critical thing here is for anyone to embarks on this than to lose sight of what the business outcomes that you're trying to drive and your conversations in your business outcome, which kinda talks to the business fundamentals.
Because when you get all hopped up on the tech conversation, you're definitely going to lose people.
Yeah. I call it the shiny new ball, right? Everybody gets so excited, and I don't know who came up with that expression, but they get so excited, we're gonna go to the cloud. We're gonna go digital.
And, at some point, you wanna go. And why are we doing that?
Yeah, let's, let's talk about where that's gonna go.
I mentioned this yesterday, but there's a great example of technology in the book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
That shows a person who is just fascinated by it, but you know, this technology thing, and the other person is focused on the journey.
No one person says, we'll do whatever it takes to get there. And if that means, you know, making repair parts out of soda cans or whatever, we're gonna get there.
And the other person is focused on the technology being perfectly aligned and, you know, and those can be this can be opposing forces, what is the outcome? What are we going to get to? It's not going to be perfect.
Hopefully it's not going to be too messy, either Has the same process.
So as you look at this, what you, what you described is a 10 year journey and a 10 year journey, because it was built on a base, right, and then a shorter journey forward.
What do you think going forward? You've now built, you've built your falling water, right.
You've built your, your structure and your, this, this place can be lived in and it can grow and expand, what do you think the next challenges on your journey?
Kind of using your house analogy, you're going to have to decorate that house, so they actually want to live in that space and get the value of what the house is all about.
For us as an organization is, how do we start leveraging what the platform business model represents?
It's actually start creating value beyond what we used to, or expanding beyond an insurance into selling alternative products, because we're actually trying to serve a customer who's got a multitude of needs.
And so, leveraging off the principles of what a platform is all about.
It's actually starting to bring in more value to your customers that are locked into your platform in a way that you can increase your relevance, which is going to force the organization toward start thinking a bit more creatively around what those opportunities, all that we can pursue.
We noticed we might be selling secondary cause, at some point in time, because our customers, actually, I've got a need for that.
It's sort of a mine tender from being an insurer, But the reality is, the platform business model actually allows us to start progressing the organization's relevance.
I can tell you right now, if you sold second hand cars in the United States, you'd make more money than any other financial product available. You can barely buy a second hand car in the United States right now, the supply chain. So there you go, your platforms ready to do it. OK, Oscar, thank you very much. Where we are at time. I want, I want to thank you again, for the second session that you and I have been on.
I hope I just realized, literally, I was watching all of your slides. They didn't get to see your face while you were doing the presentation. But they didn't get to see your content, so hopefully they spent a lot of time looking at your content. If anybody has any questions for Oscar, you can follow up with him.
After this session, Husker, I think you've made your contact details available.
OK, so, again, back to our journey.
You've now just seen a sherpa, who's giving you advice on how you can work on the architecture and not just work not a casual thing. How you can rethink and build that architecture in a structured way to move toward call your digital transformation, but whatever phrase you want to use it. And then what Oscar said, so clearly, is the digital transformation is not about transforming. It's about positioning your business for growth.
With this new architecture, how do you expand it and grow? OK, that's it for now.
Join us at the top of the Hour for Bill Jenna, VC, who will be presenting at the top of the hour. Look forward to that. And we'll see you all in about 13 minutes if you're alive. Otherwise, you can watch the downloaded version later, but it's always better life. in that way. you can insert a question if you need to. as well, you can ask from the speaker. Take ERC and 13 minutes.
Chief Strategic Enterprise Architect,
Liberty Group Limited - Standard Bank.
Oscar Stark is a seasoned IT executive and financial services veteran in banking and insurance, who focuses on driving the transformation that redefines organisations in a digital world. With a firm belief that through innovation organisations can outcompete, he has applied this philosophy to digitally transform business models and build the new capabilities that allow them to compete.
Through his work efforts he reshaped enterprise architectures, placing data at the centre as asset to be leveraged, while building the resilience that protects businesses. As a seasoned security professional of 17 years, he has applied his craft in various roles ranging from Enterprise Architect, CISO, CRO, CDO and now as Group Chief Strategic Enterprise Architect for Liberty Group, which forms part of the larger Standard Bank Group, largest banking group in Africa. [Qualifications: MCom, CISSP, ACE(MIT)]
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July 11, 2022
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