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Guiding a Legacy Company’s Digital Transformation with Stacey Goodman, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Prudential Financial

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A company’s position about digital transformation could be out with the old and in with the new. But, generally, if a product or service has existed for a long time, that’s because it has held its value. In a legacy business with good values and a deep tradition, digitization of services is more about improving respected systems as well as innovating with a forward-looking mindset. Stacey Goodman, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Prudential Financial, describes her strategy for transforming the digital experience at Prudential.

Main Takeaways

  • Transforming a Legacy Company: It’s a big lift to digitally transform a legacy company such as Prudential, which has existed for 145 years. But a company with good values and an established track record of delivering for customers has a great foundation on which to build upon. In other words, challenges are opportunities. One challenge that Prudential constantly faces is scale combined with the complexity of its life insurance and annuities products. Furthermore, a company with so much history also has a high volume of products that must be managed.
  • Marriage Between Customer and CIO Priorities: Most customers want more access at the touch of their fingertips. Prudential customers want to be able to see their assets whenever they want; particularly, during times of economic uncertainty. Customers desire the freedom to explore and make their own choices yet advisement help when needed. As CIO, Goodman’s goals are in support of what customers desire. For instance, she cares about making sure customers can easily get their password, or that robotic advice is readily available when customers want help.
  • Culture and Dynamic Work Attracts Talent: Goodman has a unique mindset regarding attracting and retaining talent at Prudential. Fundamentally, she sees the company having a good culture and providing interesting work. She makes the point that sometimes startup culture and work does not always meet the hype and that working at Prudential can provide employees a comfortable environment. An established company with well-defined structures in place can support its workers. She sees Prudential as the sort of place where employees want to be.

For a more in-depth look at this episode, check out the article below.

Article:

A company’s position about digital transformation could be out with the old and in with the new. But, generally, if a product or service has existed for a long time, that’s because it has held its value. In a legacy business with good values and a deep tradition, digitization of services is about improving respected systems as well as innovating with a forward-looking mindset. Stacey Goodman, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Prudential Financial, described her strategy for transforming the digital experience at Prudential.

“We actually have an application that was built in 1968,” Goodman said. “Now, that’s before the man stepped on the moon. That’s a pretty wild stat there. So we are definitely on a journey to modernize our environment significantly and we’re taking multiple tacks on that. At first is to just build some foundational tech capabilities, which include both the what and the how. One, what are we trying to solve for, which is improving the customer experience; really helping our customers [and] improving the experience for our employees as well. But when we think about a tech transformation, it’s also about the how. We’re thinking about expanding agile techniques and processes more broadly; how we deliver core technology services; how we deliver to the customers so that we can test and learn, because we really want to improve the customer experience. So we’re doing a lot more around design thinking and using those techniques to better the experience for a customer.” 

On a recent episode of IT Visionaries, Goodman explained her areas of focus concerning digitization of services at Prudential. She detailed both her own priorities and those of Prudential’s customers. Stacey also chatted about her career journey. 

Goodman described her work as CIO as having two primary components.

“If you think about Prudential, just like any major company, we have a lot of technology that was built in the 1960s, seventies, and eighties,” Goodman said. “And we have to manage that while we’re starting to improve. We’re also focused on innovation and really differentiating as well because we look at technology as a game changer. One of our aspirational goals is to be tech forward.” 

Part of moving tech forward for the company is understanding what customers want and then building digital applications to serve those desires. Goodman articulated what she believes customers want from Prudential and what she hopes to provide.

“We want to give you capabilities, so you can do a lot of things yourself,” Goodman said. “But, ultimately, we have a secret weapon which are our advisors. We have a big advisory capability. So once you’ve played around a little bit and think about what you want to do, you can speak to an advisor who can help customize, because the robo advisors are getting better…So you definitely want to self-serve. You want to see your money every day. You want to do it everywhere. You want to be able to run scenarios like seeing what your balances will look like with this product or what it will look like in 20 years, et cetera. You may want to do all those cool things and get some advice. But ultimately we combine that whole continuum. That’s where our goal is; not just to provide the digital, [but] the digital with the advice is really where I think we can differentiate.” 

According to Goodman, Prudential not only offers opportunities to customers, but it also offers an attractive environment for top engineering talent. 

“I think this is the new frontier,” Goodman said. “Take banking, for instance; it’s been differentiated. It’s been disrupted. There’s every kind of startup or FinTech and they’re competing with the banks and the banks themselves have already built a lot of the technology, whether it’s kind of [going] way back with simple ATM technology to now where you don’t even have to go to the ATM if you don’t want to. With Venmo, name it, PayPal, whatever you want to use, or even Zelle of Bank of America, you don’t even have to touch a branch in any way. You can do it all mobile. But insurance annuities, our industry has so much opportunity to really differentiate. So think about coming in and really testing your skills as an engineer. Can you solve the challenges we have with the legacy infrastructure and help us differentiate?” 

To hear more about Prudential is managing its high volume of complex products while digitally innovating to provide quality experiences for customers, check out the full episode of IT Visionaries

To hear the entire discussion, tune into IT Visionaries here

IT Visionaries is brought to you by the Salesforce Platform – the #1 cloud platform for digital transformation of every experience. Build connected experiences, empower every employee, and deliver continuous innovation – with the customer at the center of everything you do. Learn more at salesforce.com/platform

Episode 342