It’s not all about technology: the importance of updating management styles
‘Evolve or become irrelevant’
Throughout the banking and finance sector, ‘evolve or become irrelevant’ has been the mantra for some time now. Digital transformation has been at the forefront of most banks’ priorities within recent years, with a focus on updating legacy systems and transitioning to innovative and agile technology.
The need for banks to integrate cloud-based systems and utilise innovative technologies, such as Open Banking, is essential in order to develop digital experiences for customers and keep up with increasing customer expectations.
At the same time, there is an increasing sense of urgency to transition to modern processes as fintechs continue to emerge with a competitive and fast responding, digital-native structure – strengthening their presence within the financial market. A 2019 Accenture report found UK digital-only banks were set to triple their customer base from 13 million to 35 million, in just 12 months. These statistics suggest there may be a limited time window in which traditional banks can act before they begin to lose their share of the market.
The importance of the human touchpoint
Focusing on updating technology itself is just one part of the puzzle, and banks must also remember that to successfully develop into modernised systems and ways of working, there are human process that must be taken into account – as well as a technological one.
The banking and finance industry is constantly developing, as customers place importance on automatic processes and customer first, secure and personalised banking experiences. Embracing innovative technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Open Banking and cloud-native systems, combined with human interaction at a number of touchpoints will help banks to manage and strengthen relationships with new, existing and prospective customers.
Establishing a number of human touchpoints create consistency in service delivery, customer relationships, and other modes of working. The ability to generate and leverage new data insights, is crucial for personnel to understand the significance of such insights and what they should do with them. Data on its own has no value unless it can be used to inform tangible actions which can lead to relevant insights.
Evolving management styles
Banks must ensure their workforce develops an integrated approach to data and applications. Once technologies are harnessed, new ways of working to manage workflows should be introduced.
To successfully harness the benefits of digital and cloud transformation, organisations must transform traditional banking siloes and evolve leadership styles as well as adapt and evolve their delivery models. All personnel, including both junior and senior staff, must be equipped with the understanding of the technologies within the business, along with the reasoning as to why it’s been implemented and what it’s meant to achieve.
Implementing technology is very much a management process as well as a technical one, raising questions such as: how are we using this technology to leverage the current requirements of our existing customers, how are we targeting new customers, and what do we need in terms of operational processes to cater for this?
COVID-19: accelerating the pace of change
The current COVID-19 lock-down environment, brings the need for banks to digitise their offerings to provide essential services to their customers into sharp focus. As strict COVID-19 measures continue to hold their course, a large proportion of customers will still be expecting a fast and responsive service despite resourcing issues and the absence of key personnel. Something which many traditional institutions are finding difficult to cope with by using manual processes such as telephone banking and in-branch support.
Banks will only be able to respond to demand by having the right technological and management styles in place to deal with the heightened need for new products and services, such as loans and the ability to access funds within minutes and hours rather than days and weeks. For traditional financial institutions to survive they must update their processes to withstand the pace of change.
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