Businesses across all industry sectors are looking for ways to integrate applications and systems to make their processes easier, quicker, and to provide a solid framework for growth and change. Nowhere is this truer than in the financial sector.
Customers are demanding easier access to their accounts from the web and from mobile apps, but at the same time businesses are under pressure to ensure that their systems are secure and compliant with regulatory requirements.
There’s added complication in that new, agile FinTech companies are increasingly challenging the established players with innovative and disruptive business models. In order to compete, existing companies must be ready to adopt newer technologies.
The core of finance is increasingly moving away from the high street bank or building society and into smartphone apps. Gaining an edge in the industry is no longer just about providing a product with attractive returns, it’s also about offering new and user-friendly ways in which to interact with the customer and address the everyday problems and demands that they face. This shift becomes more critical as the millennial generation – who have grown up with mobile access – become the dominant consumers and place greater demands upon their financial providers to keep up.
A digital presence on its own is no longer enough; it has to be the right digital presence, delivering on the customer’s demands. This, however, presents its problems, even for new challengers.
You would expect finance companies to be at the forefront of the digital revolution, and in many ways they are, but there are still a number of factors holding them back. Security concerns, worries over return on investment and a lack of appropriate skills are all cited as reasons for lack of progress on digital initiatives from some of the more established players.
In order to progress their digital strategies successfully, companies need to look at establishing partnerships with providers who can help them attain their goals. They also need to appoint someone to their senior executive team who can act as a chief technology officer in order to drive digital initiatives.
Bringing finance businesses into the digital era means that there’s demand for a new set of skills to drive projects forwards. This means adding data scientists, analysts, and consultants to the existing skill sets that are essential to business success.
This raises challenges in finding and retaining the right staff and providing appropriate professional development after on-boarding. Since these talents are likely to be in high demand, it makes sense to look at outsourcing the more specialised tasks.
What is clear is that established financial companies can’t afford to stand still. Any gap left in the market by a failure to act will quickly be filled by new and disruptive ventures. The finance sector is changing fast and adapting to the opportunities which digital offers. Any business which fails to respond to this change is likely to see itself rapidly falling behind and losing market share to its competitors.