Simplification – enhancing the customer experience.

Simplification is a key pillar of our strategy and part of our Operational Excellence programme. To enhance the customer experience over the long term, we will radically simplify our processes and working methods and transform the technology landscape. Chief Operating Officer Niklaus Mannhart is well aware of the opportunities that this will open up.

Why does Cembra need to radically simplify its operating model?

In a digital world, customers want simple solutions that can be handled intuitively. The need for fast digital processes on the customer side was further accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. We need to respond to this. On the one hand, we will simplify our operating procedures consid­erably and make them more efficient – and shift the focus onto our customers even more. On the other, we will invest massively in new technologies. They will provide the best possible support for our targeted operating model, using standardised and automated processes. This will equip us for the future, so that we can offer our customers the required products and services, providing a solid foundation for sustainable growth.

What measures are needed for this to happen?

On the technology side, we are adopting a greenfield approach and developing a completely new IT infrastructure. This will make us faster, because we will have to make fewer compromises with the existing infrastructure when designing and building the new system. We can then transfer to the new model on a given day and leave the old system behind us. The implementation risk is much lower: if there are any delays, we can continue to rely on the old system. Yet it is not only a matter of technology, but also of culture. We must be faster not only technologically, but react more rapidly too. To do so, we must change our mindset. This is a major challenge, as many of our employees have been with the company for a long time. They know the processes inside and out. In a fast-paced world, we are now required to put together inter­disciplinary teams that are able to work very independently and to take decisions within a fixed framework, promptly and self-sufficiently.

What did Cembra achieve in 2021 and what are the next steps?

Firstly, we focused on our mobile banking solution in the cards market. This enables customers to submit queries and place orders digitally by themselves in the Cards Mobile First app, or at least input them. This also provides customers with the option of using a new credit card right away, in virtual form. And we receive the data in digital form as early as possible in the process, resulting in highly automated processing. A second focus is the implementation of our new service platform for the leasing business, with which we will start the new business at the beginning of 2023. The third area of focus was introducing mindset change in the teams. We began by putting agility into practice on a small scale, developing a framework and gradually adopting it.

Niklaus Mannhart, Chief Operating Officer