Coping with COVID: Digital Transformation is More Important Now Than Ever

The COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of changes. But there are far more changes ahead for those facing digital transformation challenges.

Towards the end of 2020, Arizent Research and American Banker released a special report on digital disruption and digital transformation in the financial services industry, entitled “Clear and Present Danger: The Threat of Digital Disruption in Financial Services and What Banks Can Do to Vanquish It.”


The report was based on customer interviews, observations by industry experts, and a worldwide executive survey that drew hundreds of detailed responses. Both the survey and special report were sponsored by FICO and are available at along with a host of other valuable information.


Interestingly, the initial survey results were tabulated just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak… but even back then, it still showed an alarming lack of preparation for what was to come. COVID just exposed that lack of preparation in the most painful way possible and moved digital transformation up the priority list from “Nice to do,” to “Need to do…. without delay.”


FICO addressed that urgency in a Webinar entitled, “Crossing the COVID-19 Chasm (in Days Not Months),” available at which described the actions companies need to take to address vulnerabilities in areas such as:

  • Customer servicing

  • Call center management

  • PPP SME lending gaps

  • Supply chain

  • Automated / self-serve processing

Transformation in Financial Services: Good News, Bad News

You understand that urgency if you work in the financial services industry, where chances are very good – 85%, according to Ernst & Young – that your company is undergoing a digital transformation.  And chances are very bad – 30%, according to McKinsey, Ernst & Young, and Harvard Business Review – that your company is going to actually achieve its transformation goals.


Even before the added pressure of COVID, the experts found that companies embarking on a digital transformation journey were spending more than a trillion dollars… and stilling come up short 70% of the time, in vital customer-facing areas:

  • The number of banks who rated themselves “outstanding” in terms of being able to make accurate, profitable decisions in real-time was just 7%
  • The number of banks who rated themselves “outstanding” in terms of consistency or personalization of services across those channels was in the single digits
  • The number who rated themselves outstanding in terms of their ability to anticipate and proactively respond to customers’ needs in real-time was only 14%

You should read the entire survey and special report for a comprehensive view into the problems and solutions, but collectively, the research data focused in on five areas where companies appear to be struggling the most:

  1. They lack a unified, scalable decision platform, and thus, are inhibited by siloed applications  that hoard valuable customer information

  2. They are failing to deliver effective, personalized customer treatments; the absence of a holistic customer engagement strategy causes each department to compete for the customer’s attention
  3. They lack empowerment of business users – those best positioned to understand customer needs – to manage strategies and action business insights. The lack of synergy between data scientists and operations researchers means fewer and more limited customer strategies.

  4. They struggle to identify, leverage and re-use connected decision assets across the customer lifecycle; consistent consumer engagement is a constantly-changing environment that demands real-time application of predictive and prescriptive engagement in order to increase satisfaction and retention.

  5. They don’t fully leverage their ability to simulate and validate strategies for optimal outcomes

These are eminently fixable problems.  But given the heightened urgency of rebuilding for a post-COVID world – and that nagging 70% failure rate – it’s vital that companies take quickly stock of their people, processes, and technology, to construct an achievable path forward.  FICO works with 95% of banks in the U.S., and three-quarters of those worldwide… so believe us when we caution that your competitors aren’t standing idly by; they are all gearing up for post-COVID battle for digital supremacy.


Over the past few years, FICO has emerged has an industry-recognized leader in digital transformation.  We have helped companies on every continent (except Antarctica) successfully achieve their transformation goals, so we are uniquely qualified to advise companies on how to get there quickly and with minimal disruption to their existing operations.


For more information on the FICO Centralized Decision solution, please visit  For educational material on digital transformation and digital disruption, please visit 

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