How to Prioritise Your Investment in Digital

Kevin O'Shaughnessy, Joe Brown, Thomas Goldwater

This series of articles began by looking at how firms need a strategy for Digital to align their investment priorities behind the key strategic business drivers at the organisational level. As our clients progress on their digital journey, they soon ask us…

Where will digitisation have the biggest commercial impact in the way we operate?

Identifying Opportunities

The headline-grabbing programmes typically involve client-facing applications and directly impact how we engage with clients by improving the way we provision information. Investment into a website re-design or the creation of a client portal are increasingly common in the industry as firms seek to differentiate their client experience.

Whilst not as visible, we are increasingly seeing clients implementing digital solutions to great effect further down the value chain, improving their operational systems and processes which act as an enabler to the front-end systems. The use of automation and workflow tools to do the heavy lifting in the middle and back office frees staff to work on more value-add tasks, not to mention reducing operational risk. For that reason, we often see these programmes of work to be more commercially beneficial, even if they are less visible.

By taking a holistic view of the value chain, firms are well placed to adopt a more scientific approach to the prioritisation of opportunities. To achieve that, we recommend developing an in-house framework to facilitate prioritisation decisions that will not only tell you where to start, but will also allow you to continually adapt to the changing needs of your business and your clients.

Figure: The Digital Value Chain

Measuring for Success

The ultimate objective of the framework is to promote ideas which are highly valuable and fast to implement. That way, you shorten the feedback loop to your client and deliver value quicker. It is critical to reflect your strategy for digital in how you build your scorecard, and to continually re-visit your priorities to ensure it is aligned with the broader business objectives. As a starting position, we encourage our clients to categorise considerations according to:

  • Commercial Potential
  • Strategic Alignment
  • Business Relevance
  • Regulatory & Risk
  • Feasibility and Effort to Implement


What are the benefits of this approach?

The assessment of new initiatives is both an art as well as a science and takes time to master. However, it fast becomes a preferred alternative to the Executive Pet Projects or Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (HiPPOs) which so often fail to deliver commercial benefits and underwhelm clients.

By assessing your organisation more holistically and measuring priorities more scientifically, you will benefit from a more efficient allocation of resource, shortened delivery cycles, greater collaboration between business and IT as well as a faster release of value to clients.


Get in touch

If you would like to discuss how best to identify and prioritise programmes of work from across your value chain, please contact us.

About the Authors

Kevin O'Shaughnessy Alpha FMC
Kevin O'Shaughnessy
Executive Director, Head of Digital & Agile Transformation

Kevin is an Executive Director at Alpha and leads our Digital & Agile Transformation practice. He has over 20 years’ experience of driving digital & client centric transformation across the Financial Services Sector and in particular in the Wealth and Asset Management space. His experience covers the full range of digital topics from strategy to execution which have deployed with a range of asset managers supporting a mix of Institutional, Wholesale, Retail and End Investor audiences.

Joe Brown
Senior Manager

Joe is a Senior Manager in the Digital and Agile practice at Alpha with a focus on CX, Digital Strategy, and Digital Transformation in the Asset and Wealth Management industry. Over the last twelve years, Joe has led engagements ranging across Service Design and Client Experience projects, Digital Strategy and Operating Model redesigns, and large scale digital transformation programmes.

Thomas Goldwater
Senior Manager

Tom is a Senior Manager in the Digital Practice at Alpha with over six years' experience working on Digital and Agile consulting projects. He has helped clients design and implement digital programmes of work, as well as holding roles within agile delivery teams.