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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Financial Inclusion Strategy for SMBs in Emerging Markets

There are countless scenarios that require Organizational Effectiveness. Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Organizational Effectiveness to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. Let us analyze the following scenario.

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Consider this scenario: A small to mid-sized bank in Southeast Asia is facing a significant challenge in enhancing Organizational Effectiveness amidst a rapidly evolving digital financial landscape.

The bank has observed a 20% decline in traditional banking service usage among its small and medium business (SMB) clients, as they increasingly turn to digital alternatives for their financial needs. Externally, the bank is contending with fierce competition from fintech startups that offer more agile and innovative financial solutions, leading to a loss of market share among its SMB clientele. Internally, the bank struggles with outdated technological infrastructure and resistance to change, which hampers its ability to innovate and meet client expectations. The primary strategic objective of the organization is to improve financial inclusion for SMBs in emerging markets by leveraging digital transformation to enhance service delivery and customer satisfaction.

The rapidly changing landscape of financial services, driven by digital technology advancements and shifting consumer expectations, presents both challenges and opportunities for traditional banking institutions. Recognizing the urgency to adapt, a small to mid-sized bank in Southeast Asia is at a pivotal point where it must overhaul its approach to serving SMBs to remain competitive and relevant.

As we delve into the forces shaping the financial services industry, it becomes clear that understanding the competitive dynamics is crucial:

  • Internal Rivalry: Intense competition exists among traditional banks and emerging fintech companies, striving to capture the SMB market with innovative financial products and services.
  • Supplier Power: The power of suppliers, including technology providers and regulatory bodies, is increasing as banks rely more on advanced technologies and compliance with financial regulations.
  • Buyer Power: SMBs have more bargaining power than ever before, with a plethora of financial service providers to choose from, driving demand for personalized and efficient banking solutions.
  • Threat of New Entrants: The low barrier to entry for fintech startups, coupled with their agility and innovation, poses a significant threat to traditional banks.
  • Threat of Substitutes: Non-traditional financial services, such as peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, offer viable alternatives to traditional banking products, increasing the threat of substitutes.

Emerging trends in the industry include the rise of digital banking platforms, the growing importance of data analytics in customer service and product development, and an increased focus on cybersecurity. These trends indicate major changes in industry dynamics, leading to opportunities and risks:

  • Adoption of blockchain technology: This can significantly reduce transaction costs and enhance transparency, presenting an opportunity for banks to streamline operations. However, it also requires substantial investment in new technology and skills development.
  • Increased demand for personalized financial services: Banks that can leverage data analytics to offer customized solutions will gain a competitive edge. The risk lies in failing to meet these expectations, leading to customer attrition.
  • Regulatory changes promoting financial inclusion: While this opens up new markets, it also imposes stringent compliance requirements, posing both an opportunity and a challenge for banks.

Internal Assessment

The bank has established a solid reputation for customer service and possesses a deep understanding of the local financial landscape. However, it faces significant challenges in technological infrastructure and innovation capacity.

SWOT Analysis

The bank's strengths include its strong brand presence and extensive knowledge of the SMB sector in Southeast Asia. Opportunities lie in tapping into emerging markets and leveraging digital technologies to offer innovative services. Weaknesses are evident in its outdated technology systems and resistance to organizational change. Threats encompass the aggressive competition from fintech firms and the rapid pace of digital transformation in the financial industry.

VRIO Analysis

The bank's customer service excellence and market knowledge are valuable and rare but not fully imitable. However, its current organizational structure and culture do not support the effective exploitation of these assets, underscoring the need for strategic realignment.

Capability Analysis

Success in the digital financial landscape requires competencies in technology innovation, customer experience management, and agile operational models. The bank's capabilities in these areas are currently inadequate, highlighting the need for significant investment in digital transformation and cultural change to enhance competitiveness.

Learn more about Digital Transformation Customer Service Organizational Change

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Strategic Initiatives

Based on the industry analysis and internal capability assessment, the management has outlined the following strategic initiatives to be implemented over the next 3-5 years :

  • Digital Transformation Program: This initiative aims to overhaul the bank's technological infrastructure and develop a digital-first culture, enhancing its ability to innovate and meet customer expectations. The value creation lies in improved operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, leading to increased market share among SMBs. This will require substantial investment in technology and training, as well as a shift in organizational culture.
  • Partnership with Fintech Companies: By partnering with fintech startups, the bank seeks to expand its product offerings and access innovative technologies, thus enhancing its value proposition to SMBs. The expected value includes accelerated product development and access to new customer segments. Resources needed include strategic partnership management and integration capabilities.
  • Development of Customized Financial Products: Focusing on the unique needs of SMBs in emerging markets, this initiative involves creating tailored financial products and services. The impact is expected to be increased customer loyalty and market differentiation. It will require deep market research, product development expertise, and marketing capabilities.

Learn more about Value Proposition Organizational Culture Market Research

Organizational Effectiveness Implementation KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.

What gets measured gets managed.
     – Peter Drucker

  • Customer Satisfaction Scores: Tracking improvements in customer satisfaction will indicate the success of digital transformation efforts and product innovations.
  • Market Share Growth: Measuring changes in the bank's market share among SMBs will help assess the effectiveness of partnership and product development initiatives.
  • Digital Adoption Rate: Monitoring the uptake of digital services by SMB clients will provide insights into the bank's progress in its digital transformation journey.

These KPIs will offer valuable insights into the strategic plan's impact on the bank's performance, enabling continuous adjustment and optimization of initiatives to ensure alignment with overall objectives.

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Organizational Effectiveness Deliverables

These deliverables represent the outputs across all the strategic initiatives.
  • Digital Transformation Roadmap (PPT)
  • Partnership Strategy Plan (PPT)
  • New Product Development Framework (PPT)
  • Market Analysis Report (PPT)
  • Technology Investment Model (Excel)

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Organizational Effectiveness Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Organizational Effectiveness. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Organizational Effectiveness subject matter experts.

Digital Transformation Program

The organization adopted the Balanced Scorecard framework to guide the Digital Transformation Program. The Balanced Scorecard is a strategic planning and management system used for aligning business activities to the vision and strategy of the organization, improving internal and external communications, and monitoring organizational performance against strategic goals. It was particularly useful for this initiative because it allowed the bank to focus on the critical areas of financial performance, customer knowledge, internal business processes, and learning and growth, ensuring a comprehensive approach to digital transformation. The team executed the framework as follows:

  • Developed specific objectives and measures for each of the four Balanced Scorecard perspectives (Financial, Customer, Internal Process, Learning and Growth) that aligned with the digital transformation goals.
  • Conducted workshops with department heads to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets for each objective, ensuring buy-in across the organization.
  • Implemented a Balanced Scorecard software tool to track progress against these KPIs, facilitating real-time reporting and adjustments.

As a result of implementing the Balanced Scorecard, the bank successfully monitored and adjusted its digital transformation efforts, leading to improved operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. This comprehensive approach ensured that the digital transformation initiative was aligned with the overall strategic objectives of the bank, resulting in a 30% increase in digital service adoption among SMB clients within the first year.

Learn more about Strategic Planning Balanced Scorecard Customer Satisfaction

Partnership with Fintech Companies

For the strategic initiative to form partnerships with fintech companies, the organization utilized the Value Chain Analysis framework. Value Chain Analysis involves the identification of all the activities that create value in the business, from inbound logistics to after-sales services. It was crucial for this initiative because it helped the bank identify which parts of its operations could be enhanced through partnerships, ensuring that collaborations were strategically targeted to areas that would maximize value creation. The process included:

  • Mapping out the bank's current value chain, highlighting areas of strength and those requiring improvement or innovation.
  • Identifying potential fintech partners whose products or services could enhance the bank's value chain activities, particularly in areas like digital payments, cybersecurity, and customer relationship management.
  • Developing criteria for selecting fintech partners based on their ability to add value to the bank's operations and strategic objectives.

The adoption of Value Chain Analysis led to the successful identification and establishment of several key fintech partnerships, which enhanced the bank's service offerings and operational efficiency. These partnerships resulted in a 20% improvement in processing times for customer transactions and a significant enhancement in the bank's cybersecurity measures, thereby increasing customer trust and satisfaction.

Learn more about Value Chain Analysis Value Creation Value Chain

Development of Customized Financial Products

To support the Development of Customized Financial Products initiative, the organization implemented the Blue Ocean Strategy framework. Blue Ocean Strategy encourages companies to create new market spaces or "blue oceans," making the competition irrelevant. This framework was instrumental for this initiative as it guided the bank in identifying untapped market opportunities within the SMB sector in emerging markets, allowing for the development of innovative and customized financial products. The steps taken included:

  • Conducting a comprehensive analysis of the current market landscape to identify overserved and underserved needs of SMBs in emerging markets.
  • Utilizing the Four Actions Framework (part of the Blue Ocean Strategy) to reconstruct market boundaries and focus on creating new demand for customized financial products.
  • Developing a strategic canvas to visually plot out the new financial products against existing offerings in the market, ensuring differentiation and value innovation.

The application of the Blue Ocean Strategy enabled the bank to successfully launch several groundbreaking financial products tailored to the specific needs of SMBs in emerging markets. This initiative not only captured a new segment of customers but also established the bank as a leader in innovation within the financial industry. As a result, the bank saw a 25% increase in new SMB accounts within two years of launching these products, significantly boosting its market share and profitability in the targeted segments.

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • 30% increase in digital service adoption among SMB clients following the digital transformation initiative.
  • 20% improvement in processing times for customer transactions due to fintech partnerships.
  • Significant enhancement in cybersecurity measures, increasing customer trust and satisfaction.
  • 25% increase in new SMB accounts within two years of launching customized financial products.

The strategic initiatives undertaken by the bank have yielded substantial benefits, notably in digital service adoption, operational efficiency, cybersecurity, and market share growth among SMBs. The 30% increase in digital adoption and the 25% increase in new SMB accounts are particularly noteworthy, demonstrating the effectiveness of the digital transformation program and the development of customized financial products. These successes are attributed to the bank's focused approach on digital innovation, strategic fintech partnerships, and market differentiation through tailored offerings. However, the results also highlight areas for improvement. The resistance to organizational change and the initial inadequacy in technological infrastructure suggest that the bank could have benefited from a more aggressive approach in fostering a digital-first culture and investing in technology upgrades earlier. Additionally, while fintech partnerships improved operational efficiency, further exploration into deeper integrations or co-developed solutions might have amplified these benefits.

Given the successes and areas for improvement identified, the recommended next steps include doubling down on digital transformation efforts with a particular focus on technology infrastructure and organizational culture. The bank should consider establishing an innovation lab to experiment with new technologies and business models, fostering a more agile and innovative organizational culture. Expanding the scope and depth of fintech partnerships could further enhance service offerings and operational efficiency. Finally, continuous investment in understanding and anticipating the evolving needs of SMBs will ensure that the bank remains competitive and can sustain its growth trajectory in the digital financial landscape.

Source: Financial Inclusion Strategy for SMBs in Emerging Markets, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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