Financial services institutions (FSIs) are facing post-pandemic pressures such as inflation, skills shortages and increased competition. Meanwhile, pre-pandemic challenges like increased consumer expectations, regulatory oversight and pressures on revenue and cost performance have only accelerated.
Given the shifting external and internal pressures facing FSIs, there is an urgent need to drive greater efficiencies and strong outcomes from technology investments and transformation efforts.
That’s where The Reset comes in. Created in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Salesforce, The Reset uncovers how FSIs can harness modern technology platforms and work practices to accelerate digital transformation. The report also covers how FSIs can avoid common pitfalls on transformation journeys, as well as three mechanisms that will help them extract value faster.
“This is the time for FSIs to evaluate how to make their companies more cost-effective and nimble,” says Michelle Tea, Salesforce’s Vice-President of Financial Services, ANZ.
“The Reset identifies the keys to successfully navigating technology transformation. It’s an essential guide for financial services organisations who want to harness modern digital platforms to accelerate transformation, but are unsure where to start, or aren’t seeing the returns they were anticipating.”
The “how” of digital transformation
The why of transformation has been well-documented, with research indicating how technology platforms, data and AI solutions can unlock new business capabilities, improve cost efficiencies and raise engagement for both customers and employees. Digital transformation can also help FSIs defend against encroaching competitors through actionable data insights, efficiency-unlocking automation and rich personalisation.
Where FSIs could get stuck is the how. How can FSIs effectively roll out technology platforms? What actions can they take to realise the value of transformation?
“When considering a transformation, the value at stake is clear. And yet, realisation remains elusive,” says Claus Helbing, Managing Director, Digital BCG, APAC Regional leader.
“Our research found that only 45% of financial services organisations exceed the expected value creation from transformation efforts. Failure to meet these targets often was the result of poor strategic and operational execution, not due to the technology itself,” says Helbing.
The Reset identifies how FSIs can plan technology transformation programs and mobilise the business value of technology platforms to further transformation efforts. The product of qualitative and quantitative research, the report reveals transformation insights from key industry leaders. Leaders from NAB and AMP also weigh in with their learnings from their own transformation endeavours.
Addressing common pitfalls
Accelerating the business value of transformation should start by addressing common pitfalls during the strategy and rollout stages. Failing to do this could have counterproductive repercussions, like increased costs, lack of adoption or delayed delivery timelines.
“Most organisations attempting to implement new technology platforms, and the associated transformation, get caught in common pitfalls. These pitfalls could range from failing to link transformation initiatives to the customer’s needs to poor measurement and management of transformation,” says Helbing.
For example, instead of tackling end-to-end automation, which can be costly and uncertain, The Reset covers how organisations can strategically determine problem spots and apply automation for immediate ROI.
Take AMP. It didn’t need a bespoke technology platform to deliver on its goals of transforming the customer experience while maintaining cost-effectiveness. AMP was able to leverage Salesforce’s out-of-the-box features and empowered business units to take ownership of the solution. By lifting the skill set of its staff, AMP saw a reduction in IT maintenance of 60%.
Three accelerants for extracting value faster
Technology platforms will be the catalyst for digital transformation, but without employing a strategic and user-driven approach, the technology platform alone won’t guarantee success.
“In our experience, data and technology often represent only 30% of the solution required to unlock value. The remaining 70% is reliant on non-technical aspects such as redesigning back-end processes and policies, cultivating the right skills and capabilities, and redesigning the operating setup,” says Helbing.
“After all, rolling out a new technology platform will be complex, no matter the size of your organisation. The organisations that invest in employee training and upskilling tend to see huge productivity gains as they’re able to democratise knowledge and delivery on platform,”
For example, companies that take advantage of online learning platforms like Trailhead are able to strengthen their employees’ understanding of how to use and leverage the platform.
“Creating a culture of learning and upskilling means units can take control and ownership of the platform. This empowers them to make adjustments quickly to respond to customer and market shifts faster,” says Helbig.
Coupled with stories of success from industry trailblazers, The Reset reveals three ways to accelerate value creation that will increase the odds of success.
- Orchestrate around the customer and clarify the path to value creation. With more than 30% of financial institutions embarking on a transformation losing sight of the endpoint during delivery, FSIs need to combine long-term strategic planning with clear incremental delivery. A use-case driven approach can bridge strategy and practical delivery, as it will help FSIs define clear outcomes.
- Empower the organisation by liberating technology and data. Placing the technology back into the hands of business units, supported by efficient platform governance, will make your team more productive. Achieving this will be predicated on fostering a culture or continuous learning when adopting a digital platform.
- Design for change and invest to sustain. Getting the change management right and taking a holistic approach to ongoing platform and team funding will help FSIs achieve maximum value from modern technology platforms.
For example, NAB developed a business banker platform that fosters a deeper relationship between customers and bankers. To start, the team defined a series of use cases that articulated the customer and banker requirements, the functionality needed, and the value at stake. NAB then rolled out the platform in a pilot phase to a portion of its bankers to gather feedback early.
“You can have the best technology in the world, but it is going to be useless if bankers don’t use it,” says Andrew Irvine, Group Executive for Business and Private banking at NAB.
Having a pilot phase helped NAB understand how the product would deliver genuine utility to bankers and customers, collect feedback on how the platform could be used and refine the solution.
Twelve months on, and NAB is rolling out the platform across the entire business bank and seeing results; the platform has enabled higher conversion rates, lower portfolio risk, and a more productive workforce.
“With this platform in place, we can know when a customer is facing stress or looking for support with a new opportunity, and our bankers can support more proactively,” says Irvine.
The time for digital transformation is now
Now is the time to move on from those legacy systems and band-aid solutions that inhibit agility.
Mobilising technology platforms and embracing transformation will have enormous payoffs for FSIs, helping them to reduce costs, boost productivity and improve employee and customer satisfaction. And this can have long-reaching benefits: in the future, your company will likely be better situated with loyal customers and ready for substantial growth with flexible technology platforms, fast learning people and scalable, automated processes
In an unstable climate, modern technology platforms hold the key to managing costs. But it’s the strategy and planning behind rolling out these platforms that will make all the difference to whether your transformation is successful in the long-term.