An skilled in organizing and main cross-functional groups, Jessica Austin Barker, TIAA’s chief digital and consumer expertise officer, performs a key function within the monetary companies group’s intensive expertise transformation that kicked off two years in the past.
It focuses on digital and rising tech, equivalent to synthetic intelligence, to “elevate the consumer expertise” and set folks on “the fitting path for saving early” for retirement, she says.
“Know-how is the lifeblood of consumer expertise,” Barker asserts in a latest interview with ThinkAdvisor. “Tech allows you to scale, and it’ll permit advisors to scale themselves by offering expertise and instruments.”
TIAA, the retirement plan supplier for establishments largely within the space of upper training, emphasizes “serving to folks perceive what they should be ready to reside by retirement and the way … they will be sure that they’ve some dedication of lifetime earnings [annuities]” throughout these years, Barker says within the interview.
When Thasunda Brown Duckett joined TIAA as chief government officer in 2021, she created the publish of chief consumer expertise officer. Barker was employed to fill it the next yr.
She had had years in an identical function at Intuit, the place she labored for greater than twenty years and was finally promoted to vp of client group buyer expertise.
Within the interview, Barker explains how she has organized TIAA into functioning in a horizontal mode, versus working silo-style in departments.
The brand new means, she says, supplies a “horizontal consumer expertise,” wide-ranging, simpler and with higher effectivity for retirement saving.
Barker spoke by cellphone from San Diego, the place she relies. Listed here are highlights of our dialog.
THINKADVISOR: How does your workforce companion with TIAA’s broad expertise perform?
JESSICA AUSTIN BARKER: Very intently. Know-how is the lifeblood of consumer expertise.
TIAA goes by a large expertise transformation, and we’re making super progress.
We’re addressing our expertise basis to get to an excellent place, whereas on the similar time leapfrogging and investing in emergent expertise capabilities in order that we’re in a position to apply these to unravel issues for our clients.
We’re investing in areas that characteristic expertise, whether or not it’s the digital expertise, the place we are able to reap the benefits of the metaverse, or it’s leveraging large-language fashions and AI.
How does digital make it simpler for folks to plan their retirement?
Digital will assist attain extra Individuals. Tech allows you to scale, and it’ll permit advisors to scale themselves by offering expertise and instruments.
With tech, now they will spend their time focusing extra on a few of the actual worth they will convey moderately than taking over their time with handbook [operations].
So it should permit us, over time, to allow extra environment friendly working experiences and a platform for individuals who are advising in particular person.
However you can even convey that very same form of recommendation to all people in a digital means with training and instruments that permit situations which can be customized.
What are the challenges?
There are issues which can be already underneath means. The most important hurdle is getting the eye and engagement of individuals.
The chance that we’re targeted on is training and serving to interact folks in how doing a bit [saving] in the present day to make such a distinction in serving to get folks on the fitting path for saving early.
When did TIAA’s transformation begin?
When Thasunda [Duckett] joined as our new CEO. Largely, our transformation journey with respect to consumer expertise began after I got here onboard.
My function was a brand new one which Thasunda created to raise consumer expertise.
It’s to advance our digital capabilities and lead and orchestrate the “horizontal consumer expertise” to indicate that we’re getting out of what organizations can fall into, which is extra of the siloed and channel focus solely.