Ref: IMD-7-2016

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-2016

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When digital meets lean: Digital transformation at PFA

Carlos Cordon

By Professor Carlos CordonCarlos Cordon, Søren Lund Sørensen, Christian Skau and Sisse Alber

PFA a leading Danish insurance and pension company administrating pension funds for approximately 75 billion Euro and having more than 1,1 Million customers has over that past years started a huge digital transformation journey.

For a number of years PFA pursued an aggressive growth strategy and was able to grow more than 10% primarily by taking customers from competitors. Though, the aggressive growth strategy has led to non-profitable business. Too little focus has been given to the internal processes and IT landscape leading to high costs.

To turn the development PFA decided to hire a number of experienced senior managers who had been through a digital transformation journey in other Scandinavian service companies. To kick-start the digital transformation journey PFA decided to allocate 42 FTE's to this project during the summer of 2016. The team was moved away from their existing business environment and into an environment integrating various functions. Breaking down silos improving agility to transform processes and systems was core to the success of the transformation.

As LEAN had successfully been used in PFA for a number of years the agile business transformation was combined with principles of LEAN. While the first results from the digital business transformation team were positive, the change of this more than 100-year-old company is enormous. Core stakeholders are skeptical about whether the 2 schools; agility and LEAN can be combined or whether the company should continue with only LEAN principles to push the transformation through.

Though, one thing is in common - senior management has realized the need for a digital transformation in order for PFA to keep its leading market position - whether digital LEAN or a combination with agility is still to be finally decided.

Learning Objective

This case can be used to teach several learning objectives:

  1. How to use agility and LEAN to transform a service company digitally
  2. How a focused strategy will lead to trade-offs down prioritizing other areas
  3. How to combine different schools of thoughts to deliver the needed results
  4. The challenge of changing a company and managing various stakeholders
KeywordsPension, Strategy
SettingsPFA Pension
2016, 2017 and onwards (with references back to earlier years due to a LEAN transformation project)
TypeField Research
Related materialTeaching note
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Reference: IMD-7-2016

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Case study

Reference: IMD-7-2016

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