Changing Change Management: Adapting Internal and External Culture in Times of Digital Transformation

Guide / Handbook
Date Published: 
Nov 2018
Author: 
Gisela Davico & Christian Rodriguez

Guidance on the cultural and interpersonal aspects of this process for MFIs

The changes involved when a financial institution goes digital touch all levels of the business and may even challenge the established business model or institutional identity. The successful implementation of a digital channel thus requires a sound change management plan. In fact, many digital projects that failed or struggled have done so because they did not  address the change factors related to digitizing different areas of the organization. This Field Note focuses on the "soft" or interpersonal aspects of digital transformation in the financial sector. 

The guidance presented here is based on evidence from nine financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa that the research team followed during a period of four years, 2012-2018, as part of the Partnership for Financial Inclusion initiative by IFC and the Mastercard Foundation. When introducing their digital channels, these institutions first established strategies generally centered on increasing outreach, gaining operational efficiency, and mobilizing savings. As part of their strategic implementation, some institutions tested and adopted change management mechanisms to support the introduction of the digital financial services, while others did not. This research note draws on their experiences and learnings on how to deal with the cultural, organizational and business process changes that impacted staff, customers and funders.