Digital Transformation Awards 2022: Large Private Sector – CI Financial

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    Ask 100 business leaders why their organization began their transformation journey and many would say it was to better serve customers. Ask Kambiz Vatan-Abadi, Chief Innovation Officer at CI Financial (winner of this year’s DX Award in the Large Private Sector category) why his company began down that path, however, and he speaks more in terms of practicalities and long-term viability.

    “The wheel of change is really turning in financial industry,” he said. “We can identify at least 10 principal disruption sources constantly changing our industry. A few years ago we realized that if we didn’t transform and find new ways to create value for our clients, our business growth would start to flatten, and our market share would shrink.”

    Vatan-Abadi stressed the importance of knowing where you want to go before you begin on your DX journey.

    “This is setting your north star basically,” he said. “Roadmapping is critically important. However, having a realistic snapshot of the status quo, both from technological perspective and also from a cultural and organizational health perspective, has been a bit underestimated. It’s like doing a full medical exam before performing a major surgery. How can you do a complex surgery if you don’t have a full medical test in your hand? And if you do have one, can you rely on its validity and accuracy?”

    Vatan-Abadi said it’s important to be brutally honest in the gap analysis phase of roadmapping a digital transformation. “It’s important that you do it right, and that you’re honest and you’re ready to face tough realities. You’re probably not going to be excited when you see your initial gap analysis report card, and this is totally fine. You have to set your set your expectations low, and be ready for that low mark.”

    CI Financial has moved through several phases of digital transformation. But the journey has only just begun.

    “We started our DX journey back in 2019, and successfully passed the planning, piloting, and execution phases over the last three years,” said Vatan-Abadi. “We are now well into our enhancement phase. We built and operationalized a new operating model and a new working culture, and going forward our job is to enhance this new model in all aspects of our business, and change our day-to-day corporate lifestyle.”

    Vatan-Abadi said CI Financial is honored to have its transformation program recognized, and said he hopes the award will serve to inspire other organizations in the field. “We hope this recognition can serve as an inspiration to others in the field. And remember: If our work can make a difference, so can yours.”