Do You Have Confidence that the Investments You Make in Your Initiatives Will Yield the Results You Need? Here’s Why It Matters.

By Barbara March, CEO, My Corporate Ally

To stay relevant in the retirement industry, our clients must constantly strive to appeal to and support their existing customer base and be attractive to their prospects. To achieve these goals, firms typically focus their strategies on improving current products and services or rolling out new technology, products, or services to meet demand.

Both approaches too often require significant capital investments, dedicated human resources, and costly and time-consuming technology to implement successfully. Before kicking off your next initiative, we advise asking yourself, “How can I make my project implementable, and what questions must be answered to get the best ROI?” You have to get to the point where you have confidence that the investments you are making across your organization will yield the right results.

Finding Your Four
We recommend approaching a new initiative, particularly those with cross-functional impacts, with an implementability mindset. Our observations indicate that there are typically four areas that companies need to assess to ensure the implementability of any given organizational project or product launch.
  1. Customer impact
  2. Technology
  3. Organizational Capacity
  4. Interdependencies
Start with the end in mind by making sure you always ask these questions:
  •  “How will this change impact my customers? Have we considered all the ways our customers will experience this change?”
  •  “Will we need to outsource (partially or entirely a technology or service (e.g., recordkeeping, call center, etc.) to fulfill customer needs, and how much time do we need to implement, and what will it cost?
  •  “Do we have the correct organizational alignment and resources necessary to implement the change?”
  • “What interdependencies and organizational impacts will we need to consider to get the desired outcome?”

How Likely Are You To Achieve Your Required Outcomes?

We challenge our clients to consider whether their ideas can be implemented successfully with their available resources, budget, and organizational alignment. Do you understand the current state and what it will take to get the outcomes you desire and your customers need? The goal, ultimately, is to assess the probability of success by diving into the four topics outlined above.

Map out the problems you hope to solve, and determine whether you have identified what will be needed to bring your ideas to life confidently and with the desired results. Much of the time, we see that our clients focus their goals too focused on one area of opportunity (e.g., recordkeeping technology enhancements or a more client-friendly digital experience).

When we partner with our clients, we ask the questions above and evaluate the organization’s readiness. This is “Finding your Four” in our playbook, and we can help our clients move from a low probability of achieving outcomes to a higher likelihood of success by focusing first on these categories and ensuring they are part of the business plan framework.

Implementable Ideas Yield the Right Results Because They Answer the Right Questions

If you’ve ever started a new initiative and haven’t stopped to ask yourself, “How will my customers experience this change?” and “What will it take for our customers to adopt our products and services?” you will likely discover why prioritizing implementability matters. If you’re asking the right questions from the onset, you have a better chance of avoiding the potential pitfalls that could hinder adoption rates – or worse, not getting to adoption at all.  Implementability requires planning for the entire body of work necessary to get from idea through adoption and measurement and understanding organizational readiness to get there.

"Have we properly thought through all of the potential hurdles and impacts of the change we are looking to make, and is our organization capable of making those changes?"

A Smartly Designed Business Case Matters

Now that we’ve identified the questions clients need to ask, what’s the best way to get to implementability? It requires building a solid business case and understanding where you want to go from an adoption standpoint. We advise our clients to develop their strategic business cases by mapping out these four areas: customer impact, technology, organizational capacity, and interdependencies, and then determining if the organization can deliver upon the objective. If not, the beginning of the project (the scope phase) is the time to decide what needs to be added to enable successful delivery and implementation.

By building these considerations into a solid business case and mapping organizational activities across the Four, clients are able to have a more precise direction that will ultimately produce better outcomes.

How Assessing the Four Leads to Identifying Opportunities

Not only must your initiatives work for you as a business, but they must also work for your customer. You will achieve the desired results with customers adopting your products and services.

Let’s look at the example below illustrating a red, yellow, and green evaluation of customer impact, technology, organizational capacity, and interdependencies that can be assigned to a project. We have found that projects that significantly impact one or more of these areas can put the project at risk if the planning process and adoption metrics are not satisfied as part of the project plan.

Focusing on The Four Will Drive Better Results—for You and Your Customers

Ultimately, when clients spend time focusing on The Four from the onset, they have an enhanced ability to not only meet customer expectations but also drive the right level of internal metrics (revenue, organizational alignment, supporting the mission of the company) and deliver on the expectations of executive leadership.

While no client is able to forecast and project every single potential requirement needed to get customers to the adoption phase, we have found that taking our approach will produce better outcomes for you and your customers. In the end, adoption is critical.

If your initiative can create products and services that your customer will value at a price they’re willing to pay, you will achieve success more often than not. The next time you tackle a larger organizational initiative, ask the right questions upfront. In our experience, you will yield better results and feel confident in your approach—and that confidence matters.


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About My Corporate Ally

My Corporate Ally is a practitioner-based firm primarily focused on the retirement industry space. Our industry experts deliver practical and actionable client solutions across multiple channels, operating models, and delivery types.

Built on the premise that client enablement leads to better customer outcomes, we provide organizations with the necessary tools to navigate complex challenges and transform their business model with proven methodologies. 

We encourage you to contact us today to find out how we can become your ally. Together, we will get you and your team further, faster, and with more confidence as you take your ideas from conception to implementation.

About the Author
Barbara March, CEO

Barb is an entrepreneur with deep roots in the Financial Services industry, having extensive expertise leading global and domestic mutual fund, asset management and insurance companies, as well as global technology outsourcing firms.

She built and ran BridgePoint Group, a global strategic consulting firm which worked with over 50 global financial service industry providers. BridgePoint completed multiple major global transformations resulting in increases in both growth and scale. She sold the firm to TATA Consultancy Services (TCS) in 2018.

She then built and led the TCS US retirement business. Her team designed next-generation software to support the US retirement market and leveraged the TCS global operating model for delivery.

Now as CEO of My Corporate Ally, Barb is bringing together industry experts to deliver MCA’s suite of practical, actionable solutions.

Interested in Learning How My Corporate Ally Can Help You?

Contact Laura Lynn Morrissey

Laura Lynn has built a reputation as a transformative executive, hands-on change agent, and business leader. She is able to merge entrepreneurial vision with strong business and financial acumen to build client-centric, consultative cultures that meet the evolving demands of today’s highly competitive markets.

Challenging the status quo while at Fortune 500 companies like Fidelity Investments, she has developed strategies that propel sustainable revenue growth and market positioning, and top client satisfaction scores. Her experience spans private and publicly held startups, turnaround, and high-growth organizations across diverse industry sectors, including Financial Services, Healthcare, and FinTech.