13th June 2024

Better business. Better community

Business Industry and Financial

Five fundamentals for any digital transformation in financial services

The past years have brought unprecedented technological disruption to the financial services industry, and as a result, digital transformation sits at the top of executive-level change agendas. While every programme is unique, experts from Airwalk Reply outline five steps that they believe are fundamental for the success of any digital transformation.

1. Begin with an outcomes-based approach

The best approach to digital transformation puts customers at the heart of all design decisions. By looking at the end objective and the impact to the end user, organisations can evaluate improved or new processes that best meet their needs while working within organisational requirements.

This may result in a new structure and part of the outcomes-based approach must include being open to the possibility of structural change.

Five fundamentals for any digital transformation

2. Exploit existing technology to the fullest

Ask IT managers whether they would consider their organisation an early or late adopter of new technologies, many will say they’re late adopters. Yet, according to data from the Global Web Index, 41% of IT managers are already using automation tools, while 31% are leveraging artificial intelligence and edge computing. These are emerging technologies, often on the cutting edge.

So, where’s the disconnect? In some cases, financial service providers have access to capabilities that they’re not exploiting to the fullest. This could include not integrating data sets between departments or retaining manual processes that could be done more efficiently through automation.

3. Create opportunities to attract and retain talent

Technology can and should be used and promoted as an attraction and retention tool. It can grant employees access to data that can help them make more informed decisions and it can remove the administrative burden of completing manual processes. By investing in tech, you’re investing in people and that must be included in any cost-benefits analysis.

4. Evaluate value rather than cost

An over-emphasis on costs can come at the expense of innovation, but it doesn’t have to. The cost equation of adopting new technologies and processes should focus on value – both in the short-term and long-term. That includes the aspect of attracting and retaining talent, as well as efficiencies gained by automating processes, and by removing duplicate processes across departments.

The equation should be viewed through a long-term lens – anything you don’t fix now will be harder and more expensive to address in the future, and in the meantime your customers may have gone elsewhere.

5. Connect data through the cloud

Cloud is undeniably the most transformative technology platform for any organisation today. Yet, while it has generally been readily adopted for front-end user services, it has not been as readily adopted for many back-office functions in the financial services industry.

This siloed approach to information makes it impossible for senior leaders to connect the dots between departments and hinders the ability for employees to access all the data they need to make informed decisions. For end users, it results in frustration when they must share the same information with multiple organisations.

Further reading: Strategic challenges of cloud adoption in financial services.

Airwalk Reply delivers digital transformation programmes in complex, regulated organisations. The firm operates at the confluence of business and technology.