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Building a transformative blueprint for financial services

The traditional steel and glass structure of financial services is being reimagined, says Deloitte’s professional problem solver and transformation architect, Orlagh Tuite, who applies the simplicity and functionality of Scandinavian design-thinking to how she delivers digital transformation

Design thinking – looking for innovative ways to solve complex problems – is something that permeates Orlagh Tuite’s approach to her work as a partner in financial services consulting with Deloitte, focusing on tech-enabled business transformation in this sector.

With family ties to Denmark, Tuite is heavily Scandi-influenced, and with decades of experience in the UK market working with global banks, she brings not only an international outlook, but also a design thinking approach – always working with the end-user in mind to create a seamless experience.

“I always ask my clients to think about the end user from the outset, be that the employee, or the customer – whoever will ultimately benefit from the digital transformation,” she explains.

It is clear from Tuite’s passion in how she describes the work she does that she places a real emphasis on the enduring relationships she builds with the organisations she works with. “In the relationships that I build, I’m invested in the success of my clients personally as well as organisationally.”

The architecture of transformation


Tuite, who began her career in tech, has spent the past 20 years consulting in the financial services industry, working with a vast number of leading global banks, fintech and market infrastructure providers. Across all spheres, marrying tech and business together has been a constant focus. She describes herself as a transformation architect. “It’s a term coined by a client a good few years ago – I was discussing the mobilisation of their programme at the time,” she recalls, admitting it speaks to her desire to bring a sense of creativity to her work.

Teasing out the analogy, she likens her modus operandi to how an architect would design the components of a building to be functional and sustainable, before bringing in the construction experts or, in Tuite’s case, collaborating with her technology, data and organisational design colleagues to deliver it.

My role is to help companies design the blueprint for how they achieve their goals through digital transformation. Any organisation is built around a business architecture, a process architecture, a data architecture, and a technology architecture, and digital transformation permeates all these. My ability is to traverse these four components and bring in the right specialist knowledge to transform an organisation.

Long live digital transformation


The industry has been talking about digital transformation for a long time. Tuite recalls first hearing the phrase about 14 years ago in the banking industry – but as a topic that remains a key priority, it’s not falling off the agenda any time soon, particularly with the evolution of generative AI (Gen AI).

“The digital transformation I was delivering 10 years ago was establishing mobile and online channels and building digital banks. Now, the conversations are as much around deploying digital into compliance functions or operations functions,” she says.

Technology is evolving at a greater pace than we’ve ever seen. And as a result, the digital transformation of a business needs to keep up with that pace. And it’s no longer restricted to improving customer experience and meeting customers’ ever-increasing expectations. Now it’s as much about meeting the expectations of employees and shareholders and the market.

The potential of Gen AI offers great opportunity but Tuite counsels leaders to learn from the past and avoid building the next generation of legacy technologies.

There’s an impetus to identify a use case and pilot it. That needs to be done in a way where the role of new technologies in replacing or complementing existing processes, tools and tech is thought through and understood. With my colleagues I support clients in articulating how it can be scaled to deliver enterprise value.

An economic impetus


Naturally the nature of the challenge or opportunity depends on the circumstances of the bank or organisation as well as the cycle that the banking market is in.

In the growth cycle of the past few years Tuite has been supporting her clients responding to competition from digital-first banks, and in improving customer experience, particularly through transforming mobile and online banking channels and setting up digital banks. Now that is changing, she says.

Deloitte’s own insights indicate that it’s a slowing global economy, and that, coupled with the divergent economic landscape, will pose some renewed challenges, she says.

Through digital transformation I help companies design and deliver the blueprint they need to achieve their goals

The sector’s ability to generate income and manage costs is likely to be tested in new ways over the coming years with multiple disruptive forces at play. These include higher interest rates, reduced money supply, more assertive regulations, climate change and geopolitical tensions.

“While banks are, in general, on a sound footing, revenue models will be challenged, and that prompts a very different focus on reducing cost, on increasing efficiency and creating capacity,” she says.

Measuring success


There’s a touch of transformation therapist about Tuite too. Clients come with problems that need to be teased out. She gets great satisfaction in addressing and resolving challenges faced by clients.

Creating meaningful solutions is what makes me successful at what I do. I am deeply curious about what makes people tick and what different approaches we could take to solve the problem. Reviewing how we resolved this issue for others, and who the right people and specialists are to remedy difficulties are other key considerations.

Figuring out what success looks like in the future, and how best to measure it, will be important, she advises, because digital transformation isn’t going away. One of the hurdles to digital transformation is that clients know it’s the right thing to do and know that the digital investments are essential to realise the enterprise value, but they often struggle to define and measure the benefits case and the successes, she says.

I help the organisations that I work with take a broader view of the
benefits of digital transformation. Over the past few years, we’ve seen
purpose, social return on investment, sustainability and workforce inclusion
all become equally important KPI considerations.

For Tuite, her view of success can be simply summed up as, “helping organisations overcome the barriers to realising value”. Reducing dependency on legacy systems, building digital capabilities, and seeing leadership becoming more digitally savvy are all signs of a job well done to her, and to this end, this transformation architect is excited for the next phase of the development.

Over the coming years, as digital natives climb to the top of organisations, she predicts that there will be a much stronger pull and push to digitally transform from the bottom up.

I believe we’ll be talking about digital transformation for a long, long time into the future. There’s still a huge amount of work to do, because there’s no sign of technology slowing down and to this end, the future is exciting.

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