Disruption in the Form of Customer Experience

Posted November 21, 2017

In this episode Armen is joined by David Fapohunda, Director of the Financial Crimes Unit at PwC. They discuss how customer service is a risk that businesses need to manage, just as much as liquidity, market, and fraud.


Armen:   Hi, we’re on location with today’s edition of Digital Identity 360. We’re in San Francisco at the Digital Identity Summit, and I’m here to day with David Fapohunda from PwC. David, thanks for joining us.

David:   Thanks for having me.

Armen:   So, we just wrapped up the opening session. We heard some keynotes, we heard from Brian Krebs. In the opening keynote, with Reed, we had Dasha from One World Identity. She had a really interesting framework. She’s looking broadly across the industry, as she described the building blocks for how to think of identity, and building the components of a scalable, sustainable identity system. Authorization, authentication, and culminating with federation. We’d love to hear, what’s your point of view on that building block metaphor, as it relates to where you sit at PwC? And broadly looking at the industry that you look at?

David:   I think that’s a great analogy that she set up there. It’s really exciting to see that, because a lot of institutions have had challenges with putting together this entire framework of authentication, and really making it more meaningful in a cost-effective way. It’s really starting with the strategy. A lot of pinpointed solutions have been implemented now, and really caused a lot of challenges within the organization, around ownership. Even challenges to the customers, because of such a fractured and fragmented experience.

So, really stepping back and look at it from the creation to the authentication/verification, and federation, really makes them think about, “Well, what do we need to do to account for this, from an end-to-end perspective? How do we make this journey in a cohesive manner?” And then, at the end of the day, understanding what the success will look like, with that map ruled out.

Armen:   Yeah, it’s interesting. I had a quick chat with Dasha about this yesterday, and there’s a couple things I like about the framework. One is, it does force you to think more holistically than any one sub-component or discipline. There’s a broader end-to-end framework that touches many different departments, and many different systems, if you will. But, separately from that, and something you referenced, is, it’s not necessarily just a technology discussion, right?

David:   Right.

Armen:   Sort of the classic people-process technology framework, and that human component that you described earlier. I’d love to hear your point of view on the human factor to realize an end-to-end authentication and identity system. What does that look like?

David:   Well, I think, a lot of times organization are really large and they have a global footprint, and they have different priorities within that. And they also have different lines of business and different expectations of service levels. When that occurs, naturally, institutions try to deploy things that are tailor-fit to their immediate needs. With this model, taking a step back and looking at, how does this apply on the enterprise level? And yet, how do you meet those individual needs? Helps really break down some of these governance structures and roadblocks and walls that have been built around those governance structures.

It really, really makes you think about, how do you now take a top-down approach? Getting complete visibility into how things are operating, not just in one line of business, the authentication aspects of it. But also understanding how is that individual, that customer as they traverse the different offerings institution have. How are they impacted for that? And really, it builds down to the experience. Now that you can measure experience across the entire enterprise, it really gives you some data points to help substantiate assertions that intuitions are making around the benefit and the impact customer experiences are having.

And then, finally, a reward. You can now measure the reward of the strategy, and make sure that you get support, and the right advocacy and support throughout the entire organization. Because it’s not a one-time event, identity is a changing landscape. When you have something that changes so frequently, you need to socialize that change frequently. Making sure that that strategy adapts to that, but from a top down, end-to-end, holistic perspective.

Armen:   Interesting. So when you look at identity as a discipline, through the lens of the customer, across the journey, across channel, if you will. Omni-channel. It touches, perhaps, different ownership areas, within the company. I’d love to hear from you, in terms of governance, of establishing these policies and what that end-to-end footprint looks like. Where does that ownership generally live, or is there no one place where it lives within the enterprise?

David:   It’s good to bring it up. One of the things that I presented on is the idea that customer service is a risk that businesses need to manage, just as much as liquidity, market, and fraud. They really need to understand, if this friction introduces so much potential for loss from a revenue perspective, or increased potential from a revenue perspective, we need to have, now, the right oversight. The right testing, training, strategy, policies, and standards, to ensure that there’s common measurements across the institution.

You start taking these operational management risk principles, and applying it to customer experience. You start to realize that, actually, you are making a material difference to the organization. So, now this governance, imagine now that the CEO’s not just responsible for profitability, but for the entire journey and experience of them. With this kind of governance, that level C-suite executive can confidently speak to that kind of experience that his clients are going through within his organization.

Armen:   You touched upon my final question here, is, how much of a C-suite issue, is identity in general, becoming tied to customer experience? Would you say it’s top of mind for every C-suite that you’ve interacted with?

David:   I think it’s fragmented across the different sectors. Some sectors get it, and many don’t. What’s happened is that those that do get it, are the ones that are the traditional disruptors that are introducing new change and technology, because they have a good pulse, as to what their clients want. In order to embrace, or even compete with these disruptors, institutions, whether they’re financial and banks, or other kinds of services, are trying to embrace these ideas; and slowly coming into the realm of the C-suite, in terms of understanding what the product is, and the experience with the product for their clients.

Armen:   Very well said. David, I appreciate your time here. Again, we’re live from the floor at the Digital Identity Summit, and David Fapohunda with PwC. Thanks so much.

David:   Thanks you.

Armen:   Take care.

David:   Thank you.

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