Life Accelerated
Life Accelerated
Sep 13, 2023
The Evolution of Principal Financial Group's Digital Transformation Strategy with Ryan Downing, VP and CIO of Enterprise Business Solutions
Play • 29 min

Principal Financial Group is an American global financial investment management and insurance company who helps people create the kinds of lives they dream about, empowered by financial security and stability. But how do they approach their mission through a digital perspective?

Ryan Downing, Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Enterprise Business Solutions at Principal Financial Group, discusses how technology, automation, and AI can enhance the customer experience, Principal Financial Group’s efforts towards evolving their focus from contracts to customers, the connection between employee experience and customer experience, and more.

Hear how Principal Financial Group is embarking on a digital transformation journey through keeping their customers in the center of it all.


Key Takeaways

  1. Digital transformation is about shifting the focus from contracts to customers, putting them at the center of business processes.

  2. Automation and AI can enhance the customer experience, but it's crucial to maintain a balance with the human element.

  3. A strong employee experience is essential for delivering a positive customer experience. Both are interconnected and drive business success.



[00:00 - 03:45] Introduction to Ryan Downing and Principal Financial Group 

[03:45 - 06:39] How Ryan Downing’s Role and Principal Financial Group has evolved over the years

[06:39 - 07:42] Ryan’s perspective on digital transformation

[07:42 - 09:11] How Principal Financial Group has shifted their focus from contract to customer

[09:11 - 12:10] How the employee and customer experience are related

[12:10 - 13:11] How Principal Financial Group creates a customer-centric culture 

[13:11 - 15:30] What Ryan thinks the phrase “digital first” means

[15:30 - 19:22] Ryan’s views on the role of AI in a digitally transformed customer experience

[19:22 - 21:28] Principal Financial Group’s most important and recent digital initiatives 

[21:28 - 23:28] Ryan’s four indispensable digital transformation initiatives that he’s driving

[23:28 - 27:33] How Ryan sees the role of the human element in a high functioning IT organization as he approaches his job as its leader

[27:33 - 28:39] Closing



Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn:

Learn more about Principal Financial Group:


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