Why digital transformation in financial services is only scratching the surface

  • Keith Pearson
  • Financial Services
  • Solutions
  • 2022
01 June 2022

Man sitting on bench with computer

‘Digital’ has been a buzzword for some time now, in our industry as much as any other. But while financial services are more than comfortable with surface level digitisation – think flashy apps and quicker payments – digging deeper is critical if we are to provide a truly great customer experience.

The thing is, doing so is essential to addressing the problems financial services organisations are facing today, not least better customer satisfaction. Customers today want truly joined up services, not just a slick app that only acts as a face lift for the same old legacy services they’ve been using for the past 20+ years.

It’s for that reason, among others, that customers have been turning to start-ups who don’t have all the same overhead costs or the baggage of legacy systems – and are thus able to turn on a sixpence when it comes to creating agile new services.

A new way of thinking for financial service organisations

Truth be told, however, it’s entirely possible for all financial service organisations to offer this kind of seamless service. It’s simply a question of making better use of what we have already.

Currently, we’re seeing a trend: Gartner research* shows that banks and investment firms are increasing technology spending but are not making the necessary changes to their operating model to achieve ongoing resilience.

Think back to open banking, for example: the imperative there was to make the most of the wealth of data that’s out there and use it to provide better services for customers. But while our industry has capitalised on that in some ways, we haven’t taken it to its full extent.

So, what we need to do now is to take that potential into the future, and really make something of it. Data is key to creating powerful experiences that really make a difference – but you need more than just a natty app to get hold of it.

Don’t focus on the tech, focus on what it enables

I should say at this point, the goal isn’t just to digitalise everything in sight.

Technology is important, but the need to sustain human interaction is even more so.

The perfect bank is not fully digital, it’s one where digital tech enables employees to deliver great service for customers, wherever they are. What that means is, it’s not just about having a good app, but using digital to ensure the service you get when you go in branch is fantastic, too. It’s making every interaction with a bank seamless and connected, whether it’s in person, on the phone, or even via snail mail.

And getting that right requires a fundamentally different approach to the one we have now. Right now, our data is sitting around, locked up in siloes, not really doing anything for anyone. The more we keep our data and our processes in siloes, the less we can harness the full value of data, and longer it will take for us to provide truly seamless service to customers.

But if we can join up all our data in the back end, banks become more than just ‘reactive’ service providers: they’re proactive aggregators and intermediaries that can respond immediately when things go wrong – or even predict issues and act well ahead of time. By tearing down silos, you stop hamstringing your past digital investments, enhance workstreams, and improve your capability to respond to anything.

And that can help us address some of the other great issues financial services are facing today, too.

Take the risk posed by ESG concerns, for example. Without a holistic overview of data from across the whole business – including our customers and suppliers – we can’t begin to understand the extent of our exposure to ESG risk. That means we can’t properly mitigate that risk. But once we clear up that picture, we know exactly what’s going on, at all times, we know exactly what to change, and we can report it immediately. No more panicking when it comes to routine audits – instead, we can ensure we’re prepared for changing regulations and adapt where necessary, illustrating our purpose to stakeholders as we go.  

Unlock the potential of your data with ServiceNow

So how do you do that?

It all sounds good in theory, but the reality is much more complex.

Or is it?

Unlocking all this data isn’t nearly as hard as it seems. Key to this is embracing a platform model that knocks down silos and enhances workstreams without ripping out your past digital investment. Freeing up data so that it can achieve its full potential for customers, employees, and other stakeholders. And the results are clear. Lower costs, better efficiency, and better user experience.

To find out more about how financial service organisations are re-imagining their business and operating models to take their digitalisation beyond surface level, take a look at this recent session on achieving an adaptive business architecture.

More Stories
The Future of Banking Experiences
Financial Services: Whatever Next?
Unlocking customer experience transformation in financial services

*Gartner research



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