Skip to Content

Strategies to Achieve Long-Term Transformation Success: Standard Bank

Standard Bank’s Five Strategies to Achieving Long-Term Transformation Success

Business-as-usual is no longer good enough to ensure your company's long-term success. Discover digitalisation in customer engagement.

Business as usual — as it was before 2020 — is no longer good enough to ensure the long-term success of your company. The vast majority of customers now prefer to engage with organisations digitally, and they have increasingly high expectations of those engagements.

The winners will be the companies that successfully navigate disruption to meet customers’ digital expectations. That brings new challenges, such as connecting with customers in new ways and combatting new competitive forces.

But if there’s anything the past few years have taught us, it’s that disruption also brings with it big opportunities. Companies that are prepared to adapt and transform can unlock business growth through new digital products, services, and revenue streams.

The team of experts at Salesforce Professional Services helps enterprises transform and achieve these goals. One such customer is Standard Bank, a leading financial services provider based in Africa that serves more than 13 million customers in 27 markets.

The bank’s leadership saw the need for a shift to a digital-first future several years ago. Here’s how Salesforce Professional Services helped the bank with five key transformation strategies that mitigate the challenges of organisational change.

Salesforce Professional Services

When you invest in Salesforce, we deliver more than technology. Salesforce Customer Success gives every customer access to resources and expertise from the world’s most extensive success ecosystem.


Transformation challenges

Adapting to a digital-first world naturally involves building new innovative capabilities. But while most organisations have accelerated their digital projects, simply adopting new technologies is no guarantee of success.

Deploying new technologies without transforming business processes and the ways you work may leave you worse off than before.

It’s like trying to force a square peg into a round hole, and it generally results in low user satisfaction and slow technology adoption. Your company remains the same old organisation but with higher costs from purchasing and using new technologies inefficiently. Or to put it simply:

New technology + old ways of working = higher costs

By contrast, Standard Bank, like other successful Salesforce Professional Services customers, achieves faster speed to value and long-term success by embracing new technologies and new ways of working.

Of course, our customers still face significant challenges to driving meaningful change across the organisation. Those challenges include resistance to change from stakeholders, departments with competing priorities and expectations of new systems, and a lack of accountability for key tasks in digital projects.

They may also face strategic challenges, such as the natural tendency to focus on cost reduction rather than growth-oriented business and customer outcomes. Some stakeholders might want perfection, which can lead to over-customization of applications, increased costs, and slower progress.

Five success strategies

Standard Bank’s transformation was an ambitious one. It involved implementing cloud-based systems and apps across multiple teams, and Customer 360 including Salesforce Financial Services Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Experience Cloud and Commerce Cloud.

Digital projects are rarely simple, but this complex transformation requires careful planning and fundamental changes to the way the bank’s teams work to ensure its success.

Salesforce Professional Services helped Standard Bank through a maze of potential traps with five key strategies to succeed with its digital-first, growth-oriented transformation.

1. Value trusted relationships

As we do with all our customer engagements, we emphasized the importance of the “One Team” approach. Put simply, this involves using solutions that empower employees to collaborate and share information. Standard Bank adopted this as a core to its transformation, which ensured trusting relationships among all stakeholders.

Standard Bank teams also used the RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed) matrix to determine which departments were responsible for particular tasks in the transformation. This reduced misunderstandings and miscommunication which could have slowed down the project.

One key to succeeding with this strategy was finding people with the right skills and tenacity to overcome challenges on the digital journey.

2. Adopt a platform mindset

Standard Bank formed a Salesforce centre of excellence (CoE) to act as a central governing body, bringing together stakeholders from across the organisation to create a single, well-defined group responsible for making decisions when it came to the Salesforce platform, maximising capability reuse, minimising technical debt and accelerating delivery.

This powerful strategy breaks down the silos between business and IT so that each understands the other. To help succeed with this strategy, Standard Bank’s CoE initially adopted a “go slow to go fast” mantra, meaning that everyone had to follow the foundational steps of the program. This way the team had a solid and shared footing on which to move forward together.

3. Maintain alignment

Of course, any digital transformation without a strong commitment from the organisation’s upper management is probably doomed. Fortunately, Standard Bank’s executive team was on board from the start, which helped streamline the company’s adoption of the new solutions.

Salesforce developed an organisation prioritisation process known as V2MOM, which stands for vision, values, methods, obstacles, and measures. This creates a framework for aligning everyone across the organisation and encouraging creativity, change, and individual empowerment.

4. Emphasize continuous innovation

Digital transformation is not, of course, just one product or service. It’s a continually changing programme and supporting platform that moves in concert with technological innovations to keep organisations on the cutting edge of a digital-first future.

Standard Bank stays on top of innovations by using a Salesforce Hub and AppExchange to find the ready-to-install apps, solutions, and consultants that help keep the company up-to-date with the latest tools.

The CoE has developed and used a how-to toolkit to scale Salesforce solutions. This includes documents that are shared with system integrators and anyone else who needs to know how to operate, what the governance is, what the processes are, what the delivery lifecycle is, and the tools they need to use.

To help create an example of teamwork and innovation, Standard Bank built an internal Experience Cloud site (Salesforce Hub) using a hackathon to get all the team hands-on. Instead of making it a competitive competition, it was turned into a collaboration, with everyone sharing responsibilities to develop the site within a day.

The teams have also partnered with Salesforce technical program architects to gain insight into setting up standards of governance and find the tools needed to automate and drive the bank towards its digital-first future.

5. Adhere to human-centred principles

The bank saw that focusing on people first would help them overcome challenges and obstacles by ensuring there was mutual trust between employees and management. The result is that everyone at Standard Bank is aligned with the company’s overall goals.

A human-centred approach helps build rollout readiness and takes away some of the fear of new systems. It requires communicating how the new capabilities will make employees’ and customer lives easier, how everyone can play a role and what to expect with training. It reduces the time the organisation needs to get up and running with a new solution but more importantly, improves the quality of tools for everyone so it is ‘pulled’ in rather than being rolled out.

Fast-tracking success

Today Standard Bank has 20 teams working across the four Salesforce cloud solutions. With automated testing, software releases are delivered twice a week now. Built-in Salesforce tools allow developers to see where bottlenecks are or which code hasn’t been updated. As a result, Standard Bank has achieved greater efficiencies and reduced costs — and those trends are expected to continue.

Standard Bank’s main goal was to create one team aligned with their customers’ needs. These five strategies enabled the bank to achieve this, provide clear lines of communication across the organisation, and ensure everyone had the tools they needed to become more empowered in their roles.

As a result, Standard Bank has gained deeper insights into its customers, accelerated the speed to value from its transformation, and ensured it is well-placed for a successful long-term future and is continuing to innovate.

To learn more about how Salesforce Professional Services can help your organisation achieve long-term success, please get in touch with your Account Executive at Salesforce.

Webinar: Standard Bank Strategies

For more details on these transformation strategies, see our webinar with key Standard Bank executives.


Get our bi-weekly newsletter for the latest business insights.