From corner stores to multinationals, businesses today have realized that digital transformation is essential to survive the challenges of COVID-19. But just because a financial service provider (FSP) has succeeded in growing its business does not mean it will succeed at digital transformation. While an institution’s technology infrastructure can be a springboard to leap forward, it can just as often hold it back. An organization’s ability to digitally adapt depends on its technology maturity — the capabilities and agility of its software and hardware infrastructure and its technology team.

Today’s social distancing measures have made an FSP’s technology maturity even more crucial, as technology determines whether the institution can quickly deliver the critical digital functionality its staff and customers need. When Accion partner CD Finance’s clients could not visit its branch offices, the institution relied on its digital payments platform to manage payments. The crisis is a stark reminder to many FSPs that without agile technology, they can’t adapt quickly when client or business needs change.

Accion’s new tool to evaluate and understand your organization’s technology maturity

To help institutions evaluate their technology maturity, Accion has developed a Technology Maturity Diagnostic. This tool enables organizations to gauge their current maturity, set benchmarks, and plan a roadmap of strategic technology initiatives to support digital transformation and priority business goals. The Technology Maturity Diagnostic allows your organization to assess how ready your staff and technology platforms are to plan, operate, and adapt to meet changing business needs. The tool is available in English and Spanish.

Organizations can use the tool in various ways:

  1. As a diagnostic tool to determine the status of the organization along the technology maturity continuum and identify where the most and least progress has been made.
  2. As a benchmarking tool for peer-to-peer comparisons and evaluations by investors, donors, creditors, and strategic partners.
  3. As a reference to set technology strategy and define specific maturity targets. These targets will impact the organization’s market, customers, budget, and capabilities.
  4. As a communications tool among the board, management, and technology stakeholders to help articulate how strategic technology initiatives enable the organization to meet its business goals, provide context, and measure progress.

Five dimensions of technology maturity

The Technology Maturity Diagnostic assesses the effectiveness of an organization’s technology infrastructure and capabilities across five dimensions:

  1. Strategy: How well has the organization developed a strategy to meet its business goals through digital technologies? How well does its technical agility and experimentation position it for disruptions?
  2. Functional architecture: How agile is the organization’s core architecture? Can it readily add new services and integrate with external systems, create digital workplaces for staff, use automated back-office workflows, and provide platforms to serve its clients?
  3. Data architecture: How advanced are the organization’s data architecture and methods for using data, such as for reporting and analysis? How innovative and sophisticated is the use of internal and external data for decision making?
  4. Operations and delivery: How effective are operations and the delivery of systems functionality? How dependable are infrastructure and service desk support? How well do cross-functional teams employ agile methods in development and operations to deliver new functionality quickly and predictably?
  5. Resilience: How strong is the organization’s capacity to proactively manage cybersecurity risks, business continuity, and data protection and respond to disasters?

More tools in Accion’s Digital Transformation Framework

The Technology Maturity Diagnostic is the latest of three diagnostic assessments within Accion’s Digital Transformation Framework, a comprehensive set of tools designed to help providers understand, map, and accelerate their digital transformation developed as a part of our ongoing work with Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.

  1. Digital Transformation Assessment: To assess an organization’s overall digital maturity.
  2. Data Maturity Diagnostic: To assess an organization’s data capabilities.
  3. Technology Maturity Diagnostic: To assess the capabilities and agility of an organization’s software and hardware infrastructure and its technology team.

Financial providers face a daunting digital journey, and under COVID-19 that journey has become more challenging and more urgent. Accion’s digital transformation framework provides a roadmap for prioritizing strategic initiatives, setting goals, and tracking progress. The new Technology Maturity Diagnostic makes clear the various dimensions of technology readiness that underly that progress. We invite institutions to use these resources to navigate digitization so they can serve customers more efficiently and effectively, especially those who have been left out of the financial system for too long.

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