RBC: Transforming Transformation (A)
Historically, personal and commercial banks (P&CB) maintained long relationships with their clients who tended to do most if not all of their banking with one bank. However, by 2017, industry-wide change was well underway as switching costs had become negligible if not non-existent. New entrants were disrupting the banking industry as digitization allowed upstarts to break through long-standing barriers to entry. RBC's Cultural Transformation, intended to reposition the enterprise for the "new normal" in the financial industry, included the creation of this team of collaboration enablers (called Operations Transformation or OT) to drive efficiencies across operations within the current fulfillment operating model and importantly to envision and enable a new digital operating model where people only intervened in a transaction when there was an exception, i.e., a transaction that fell outside the technology's capabilities. OT was tasked with enabling-through collaboration and without radical surgery-the day-to-day optimization of P&CB fulfillment activities and facilitating major change in the way work was done. At the time of the case, eighteen months in, the team was seeing mixed results, which deeply troubled its leadership. Questions abounded: Was it foolish to try to enable major change through collaboration without upending the traditional RBC organization with more radical approaches? Or was the OT group not structured correctly to enable it-and if not, what changes should be made? Was a different collaboration model needed? Internally, some questioned whether the group was optimally located within the organization (as part of the back office organization structure), since the back office was often viewed as more of a servant to the front office. Others wondered if OT's internal structure was getting in the way of its purpose.
- 2020 HBS
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