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The Digital Proficiencies Pools Are Prioritizing


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Through our Digital Transformation Residency, pools have been assessing their mastery of eight digital proficiencies that are critical for navigating this time of significant change.

It’s worth considering which proficiencies people feel are the most important at their pools, how individual perspectives may vary, and what those differences might mean. Understanding these different priorities (and where they come from) can help pool teams communicate more clearly — and improve the effectiveness of all pool digital efforts and operations.

To learn more about these proficiencies, read our January issue of Intelligence, which defines and discusses them in depth.

Most and Least Important Proficiencies

We recently surveyed a group of pool executives, staff and governing body members to find out which proficiencies they thought their organizations had to do the most work on.

The most common answers were enhanced member digital experiences, robust cybersecurity and increased task automation.

Digital governance, enterprise architecture, activated data and machine intelligence were the least common answers. Maybe it’s true that pools have already mastered these proficiencies. However, we suspect these were given less priority because these are abstract concepts that not everyone immediately recognizes.  


Dealing With Differences Among Roles, Experience Levels

In some cases, survey responses differed depending on the pool role or experience level of the respondent. These differences reveal particular areas where pool leaders may need to build consensus and/or gather more information.

1. Understand governing body cybersecurity priorities — and communicate the true scope of cybersecurity needs.

Executives view work on robust cybersecurity as relatively low-need, but governing body members consider it as highest-need. It could be that governing body members are focusing on their fiduciary obligations to protect pool assets (digital, financial and otherwise). Or they might be thinking about the level of cybersecurity at their own “day jobs” with public entities.

Regardless of why this perspective differs, pool executives will want to create common understanding.


2. Make the case for automation to your pool governing body.

Executives prioritize focus on increased task automation, but governing bodies show relative disinterest. It makes sense that, because governing bodies don’t see all the ins and outs of daily pool tasks, the potential impact of automation could be lost on them.

As a result, executives may need to convince their governing bodies of the pool business case for automation. And, to provide complete perspective, executives may have to share more detailed information about business systems and workflow than is typical.


3. Seek insight from pool staff on improving member digital experiences.

All types of respondents frequently indicated the need to enhance member digital experiences, but pool staff consider this a top priority.

This may indicate that pool staff working directly with members have increased awareness of where the current digital experience falls short. Listening carefully to the specific opportunities seen by staff will help pools make the right member experience investments.

4. Know that member digital experiences and staff digital competencies will soon be fundamental.

The most experienced respondents somewhat less often mentioned member digital experiences. Although digital experiences are a relatively new phenomenon for pooling, leaders who may be more used to in-person interactions cannot ignore their importance.

More notably, no one with more than 30 years of experience indicated their pool’s need to work on individual digital competencies. Pool veterans need to be aware of this potential blind spot relative to their colleagues, who frequently mention this need.


5. Seek insight from pooling veterans on digital governance.

Regardless of their pool role, the most experienced respondents most often indicated a need to focus on digital governance. This could mean an underappreciation among the less experienced for the policies and procedures that govern a pool’s digital environment. Leaders should actively seek out the digital governance wisdom of pooling veterans now.

All Proficiencies Are Critical, As Is Buy-In

Regardless of which proficiencies your pool has to work most on, all eight are critical to your pool’s future success. Furthermore, getting buy-in on digital proficiencies from everyone — including the governing body, pool executive and staff of all experience levels — is imperative. Your entire pool must appreciate and understand digital proficiency priorities, risks and opportunities.

For more information about our Digital Transformation Residency or how to engage best with these insights for pools (including how to build a digital roadmap for your pool), contact Steve Keller.