Financial Services Organisations Struggling to Keep Up with The Pace of Digital Change

Nearly half of financial services employees believe their organisation is behind the competition when it comes to digital adoption

Research from Sungard Availability Services has revealed that financial services (FS) organisations are struggling to keep up with the fast pace of digital change.

Already recognised as a game-changer for the industry, 92 per cent of FS organisations named digital transformation as a priority, with a further 86 per cent claiming it to be “a critical factor in remaining competitive”. The expected benefits are huge – including increased productivity (87 per cent); improving customer satisfaction (51 per cent); and opening new revenue streams (41 per cent).

A Digital Disconnect

However, despite recognising the importance of digital transformation there appears to be a disconnect when it comes to implementation. The research found that nearly half of employees (45 per cent) in FS organisations believe that their employer is falling behind the competition when it comes to adopting the latest digital tools and technologies.

With the FS industry already feeling the heat from ‘digitally-native’ competition – such as the emergence of innovative, UK start-ups Atom Bank and Mondo – this dissatisfaction with technology implementation could not only cause a competitive disadvantage, but also lead to a staff retention crisis.

With 90 per cent of FS workers naming access to digital tools as a crucial part of their role, as well as a further 39 per cent admitting that they would be embarrassed to work for a company that did not provide digital tools, trouble lies ahead for any organisation not already investing in digital transformation.

Critically, over a fifth of employees in the sector (21 per cent) claim to have already left a place of employment that did not fulfil their digital expectations, whilst a further 34 per cent have said they would leave their present employer to join a more digitally progressive company.  FS organisations must act now to avoid a skills gap and talent retention crisis.

Keeping Up with The Competition

All of this is creating enormous pressure for the IT department. Along with pressure from staff, over half (57 per cent) of the industry’s IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) fear that their IT team cannot drive digital transformation at the speed the management team expects.

A lack of the appropriate skills is a big hindrance for the FS sector as it looks to adopt more digital technology, with 52 per cent of businesses struggling to integrate new applications with legacy IT – the highest of any sector surveyed.

Keith Tilley, Executive Vice President, global sales & customer services management at Sungard Availability Services comments:

“The rise of new, innovative and digital-native fintech organisations is challenging the established order of the industry, with traditional institutions now being forced to confront the power of technology or risk losing market share to what they might regard as upstarts. Adopting the old maxim of ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’, investment in the technologies that can better enable the FS industry’s ‘old guard’ to meet rapidly changing market demands is going to be crucial to their survival.

“Now fighting a battle on two fronts – maintaining ever-aging legacy systems and implementing the latest digital technology – many FS organisations are facing an upward struggle. For these organisations, IT has become a bear: unruly, challenging and scaring away the best talent. Something must be done to enable them to regain control of their complex IT in order to safeguard their commercial positions.”

The full report on how organisations are handling the challenges of digital disruption is available to download by visiting Tame the Bear here.

Author: Dylan Jones

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