For almost three quarters (73%) of financials services leaders, customers are the main driving force behind their company’s digital transformation, however fear of failure is holding back the implementation of digital projects, with almost three quarters of financials services leaders put off by the costs of failed projects. This comes as no surprise, as seven-in-10 admit to cancelled projects in the last two years, according to Fujitsu’s Digital Transformation PACT Report.
“Financial services firms are under pressure from their customers to deliver greater speed, convenience and personalisation, as well as better customer services,” said Ian Bradbury, CTO Financial Services at Fujitsu UK & Ireland. “Digital transformation is certainly a key strategy in helping banks and insurers achieve this, however, despite the sector going from strength to strength, financial sector firms have undertaken unsuccessful projects and lost money. This has made them nervous about deploying new projects. But we feel that success can be born out of previous unsuccessful projects, as previous failures allow organisations to learn. In an ever-changing market, there is no such thing as permanent success. Organisations must continuously improve, learning from their mistakes along the way.”
Even though over four-in-five (87%) have a clearly defined digital strategy, almost three quarters (73%) admit that their digital transformation projects often aren’t linked to the overarching business strategy. But is this the sole reason UK financial services leaders can’t get to grips with their digital projects?
Realising a digital vision is not just about having the right technology. In order to successfully digitally transform, this research highlights four strategic elements businesses must focus on: People, Actions, Collaboration and Technology – the Digital PACT.
While admitting to a problematic skills gap – especially as 80% believe the lack of skills within the business is the biggest hindrance to addressing cybersecurity – it is encouraging to see that over nine-in-10 believe they have a culture of innovation within their organisation. Despite this believe, 87% believe that fear of failure is a hindrance to digital transformation projects. There is therefore a long way to go for financial services companies to truly transform their culture to thrive on innovation. As UK financial services firms are taking measures to increase their access to digital skills and expertise (93%), four-in-five believe attracting ‘digitally native’ staff will be vital to their firms’ success in the next three years, as well as turning towards targeted recruitment (72%) and apprenticeships (50%) to support digital transformation.
Although having the right processes, attitudes and behaviours within the organisation to ensure digital projects are successful are seen as the least important of the four key elements of digital transformation, 87% are taking specific measures to support collaboration on digital innovation and over two-in-five (43%) are creating networks for employees to share expertise across the business.
Over a quarter (28%) of UK financial services leaders believe collaboration is an important element in realising the company’s digital strategy. While almost four-in-five (78%) turn to technology experts for co-creation, 67% go as far as seeking consultancy and training from start ups and organisations outside their industry.
Many organisations are already leveraging new technology that will radically change the way they do business. A fifth of financial services leaders believe implementing technology will be the most important factor to realising their digital strategy, with cloud computing and big data and analytics playing a key role in helping drive the financial success of their organisations over the next 10 years.
Bradbury continues: “Historically, financial services firms have been cautious when it comes to innovation. They are working under strict regulations and the very nature of what they do, means that a radical digital transformation project could have a detrimental impact on people’s lives – for example, negatively impacting access to bank accounts or making insurance claims. But this shouldn’t hinder innovation across the sector. Quite the opposite – with the help of external expertise and willingness to implement digital transformation, we can be soon pleasantly surprised at a revamp of the industry. Change doesn’t always come naturally, but the financial sector understands what’s at stake, with 86% admitting that the ability to change will be crucial for the business’ survival in the next five years.”