Digital transformation: client experience enters a new era


Long holding centre stage due to work conducted to increase user autonomy, the digital transformation* is now entering a maturity phase, where, far from the “wow” factors of the early days, now the search for long-term value takes precedence and guides the efforts made.

With this in mind, asset managers and asset owners are also realising the importance of client experience, which is the result of close collaboration with asset servicers.

Societe Generale Securities Services (SGSS) is also involved in this change: since November 2019, its clients have had a single entry point to access all of their digital services on the SG Markets platform.

Using a single authentication system, the client can access the key capabilities of the platform, which brings together all of the Global Banking and Investor Solutions of the Societe Generale Group.

Once logged in, the user can then browse the various services harmoniously. The graphic appearance is the same in each SG Markets service, which enables any user to easily find their way while browsing from one site to another, with consistency in the buttons, widgets, and any other web page component.

But what is a successful digital transformation?

Although many dimensions may be taken into account, two major aspects should be considered if we are looking to define a successful digital transformation:

  • Efficiency at the organisational level: do the changes made help to modernise the information system, making it possible to free up time for handling new activities?

Reducing operational risk, lowering costs (financial as well as environmental) improving data quality... are all indicators that currently dictate the implementation of digital projects. Thus, the digital transformation has reached a sufficient level of maturity to address the main operational issues of our institutions: our “historical” information systems have disappeared into thin air. Indeed, we have witnessed a significant wave of reinternalising our IT solutions, which made it possible to simplify and develop APIs to streamline exchanges of information in our production plants. Such transformations made it possible to refocus our teams’ efforts on higher value-added tasks, while giving better legibility to our information systems, through very rigorous monitoring of such indicators.

  • The end user experience: have the changes actually made it possible, along with better organisational efficiency, to improve the quality of user journeys?

Although SGSS began its digital transformation naturally by dealing with the client’s experience, this is still difficult to define. Of course, an analysis of the user’s behaviour through usage statistics is still current; but what more are we doing to ultimately improve the user’s experience?

First, the creation dynamic has been greatly enriched. The theoretical image of the client’s need has given way to the concrete production of personas and user journeys, which are aimed at properly understanding and determining the needs of the client, by putting oneself in their shoes throughout the chain of services provided. Instead of trying to model the client’s needs on a completely theoretical basis, we all know that the best way to identify those needs is to ask clients directly. Therefore, workshops to co-design digital products were organised with clients. Who would have believed it, just a few years ago, that being in a room with felt-tips, post-its, and sticky labels could produce such spectacular results?

Bringing together such varied profiles as sales reps, operations, IT specialists and above all, clients, all working toward the same goal, made it possible to move forward quickly, by aligning the naturally diverse contributions from one and all. Furthermore, today, each new digital service that goes into production has been submitted for approval by our “client/testers”. This way, we make sure that each improvement made to our platform has been validated by the end user in our workshops.

The second and not least of the benefits pursued by this joint-venture is easier change management. The workshop participants, previously reduced to simple consumers, have become co-designers of the product, and this new posture changes everything to the extent that the former consumers/detractors have become transformed into thought leaders, ambassadors of the solution.

Even if significant steps have been taken, there is still some road to travel so that both the systems can be totally modernised and communicate effectively, and so that the cultural change can happen, enabling each person to appropriate these new ways of working.

Two new pieces of good news nevertheless deserve mention:

Awareness is real on both sides: both clients and their contacts acknowledge the benefits of a job done jointly.

Lastly, the streamlining of systems is heading in the right direction, through more interconnectivity, less data redundancy, and rational energy consumption.

*The digital transformation can be defined as the transformation of companies and organisations while taking advantage of the benefits of digital technologies and the innovations they bring, for increasing efficiency and improving user comfort and the relevance of the services offered. 

Matthieu Brunhammer, Transformation Leader, Societe Generale Securities Services