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For financial services firms, successful business growth can be complex to navigate. Regulation and economic uncertainty are forcing businesses to adopt an agile approach that embraces technology. Investigating this, FIS recently published their Readiness Report, detailing how growth leaders within financial firms are using tech to stay one step ahead.

FIS’ recent Readiness Report was published following interviews with 1042 senior decision makers within financial firms. Although the insights provided by the interviewees weren’t entirely unsurprising, it was concerning to read that only a minority of those interviewed felt their businesses were adequately prepared for growth, with the right technology at their disposal. The majority of interviewees described feelings of anxiety around a lack of new technology, and how poorly they were doing in comparison to rivals.

Investigating these results further, the FIS Readiness Report – as well as its follow up benchmarking tool – scored the performances of different firms against key tech growth enablers. The so-called Readiness Index indicated that firms achieving ‘operational excellence’ were outgrowing their rivals at a fast pace.

Six operational principles were highlighted in the report, each showing that technology plays a large role in preparing financial firms for growth. So, what can financial firms learn from these principles, and can they now move towards a quicker uptake of new technology and grow as a result?

The Six Operational Principles

The six principles identified are as follows:

  1. Automation
  2. Data Management
  3. Emerging Technology
  4. Digital Innovation
  5. Customer Experience
  6. Talent

The interviewees who were most successful – the ‘Readiness Leaders’ – had taken action across these key areas, and in its closing moments, the report urges others to follow in their footsteps.

In order to better equip other financial firms for the same success as the report’s Readiness Leaders, FIS presents a number of suggestions across each of the individual operational principles:

1. Deepen Automation

In a fast moving and hyper-competitive environment, organisations can’t afford to be slowed down by inefficiencies. Suggesting the introduction of low-level automation amid office activities, as well as automating areas of trading and back-office operations, the report highlights the importance of mastering workflow before turning to AI and machine learning solutions.

2. Excel with Data

Initially, firms are advised to work towards a centralized source of information within the business over a fragmented system, before moving onto the next stages in a multi-tiered approach to data management. Whilst customized and real-time data needs to be made available to business users, an AI overlay should provide better insights and perspective.

3. Add Value with Emerging Technology

Embracing technology, according to the FIS report, must take on a longer-term nature, with senior leaders using the likes of blockchain, AI and mobile to add value to their client offering. Readiness Leaders are already one step ahead in this area, heavily adopting AI to add value, but the day belongs to whoever can redefine how clients are served.

4. Accelerate Innovation

Digital innovation is an area currently stifled by legacy systems, cyber risk, and heavy regulatory limitations. To succeed in the same vein as Readiness Leaders, firms must find innovative ways to overcome these barriers – potentially through relationships with third party innovators.

5. Reimagine the Customer Experience

Despite the mass-adopting of tech and mobile communication by the public and many other industries, financial services firms are still trailing behind. This leaves the customer experience as an important driver of growth, and firms who are able to provide greater access to real-time data and direct market access are more likely to be tipped for growth.

6. Recruit the Specialist Team

Finally, the report urges financial firms to widen the possible pool of talent being hired into organisations, to include areas with specialist skillsets such as data science. Allowing these highly-skilled specialists to collaborate with the front office is a surefire way to encourage innovation and provide better outcomes for customers.

Better Preparing for Growth

It’s important not to understate the importance of technology’s role in this report. All six operational principles focus around tech and its latest developments and skillsets. Therefore, it’s fair to argue that the financial firms not embracing technology are doing themselves a significant disservice.

Following the report’s publication, it will be interesting to see how much the financial services market will take away from FIS’ findings. Herein lies an opportunity for smaller firms to outmanoeuvre larger businesses through the tactical adopting of innovative technologies, and collaboration with forward-thinking third parties.

If you’re a business leader in financial services, I highly recommend you read the report for yourself, as well as explore the benchmarking tool, both of which are available here, alongside further information on the research’s findings.

As a bespoke software development house based in Manchester – the tech hub of the North – Kaleida have extensive experience in collaborating with financial services firms, introducing tech solutions to problem areas such as business growth and data integration. To find out more about our work, feel free to explore our case studies. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us – our team will be happy to help answer any questions.

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