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90% of banking and financial services CIOs find integrating new communications channels with legacy systems a key challenge to improving CX

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90% of banking and financial services CIOs find integrating new communications channels with legacy systems a key challenge to improving CX

73% of banking and financial services CIOs say they find it a challenge to deliver proactive, conversational customer communications and 77% fear a lack of automation will lead their businesses to fall behind 

The majority (90%) of banking and financial services CIOs find integrating new communications with legacy systems a challenge, according to new research from global cloud communications software provider, IMImobile. This comes at a time when almost all (98%) banking and financial services CIOs feel under pressure to deliver the customer experience (CX) expected by both customers and the wider business. Businesses are increasingly expected to respond with the same level of speed and consistency whether using email, SMS, Facebook Messenger or new channels such as WhatsApp Business. However, more than half (60%) of banking and financial services CIOs admit they are unable to provide a truly connected and integrated customer communications experience across all channels and business systems.

Asked to consider the major barriers they face when it comes to delivering a frictionless customer experience, banking and financial services CIOs cited legacy IT systems (67%), data being spread across multiple systems (60%), and budget constraints (39%), as the top three blockers to progress.

“It is widely known that the ability to innovate and improve customer communications can make or break a business. Worryingly, the research lays bare the gap between the experience customers now expect, and what businesses are currently able to provide,” said Aseem Sadana, EVP at IMImobile. “The challenge is that delivering a great customer experience is easier said than done. This is especially the case for large consumer facing enterprises, where fragmented, legacy IT environments make integrating new communications channels and processes very complex. Many of them also have data that is spread across multiple systems, with programmes and processes varying from department to department. CIOs must consider a centralised platform approach to orchestrate and automate communications across existing business systems and communications channels.”

Coding and control challenges

Banking and financial services CIOs also revealed some specific challenges they face around the piecemeal evolution of customer communications environments. Eight out of ten (82%) say their current development approach hinders their ability to change or create new customer journeys in a fast and agile manner. Most (92%) recognise that a low-code approach would increase their business agility and mean they were less reliant on specialist developer skills; 85% of banking and financial services CIOs are also keen to empower teams across the wider business to innovate new customer journeys such as customer services and marketing .

The research also uncovered that banking and financial service sCIOs are struggling with control; almost nine in ten (85%) find it a challenge to ensure customer communications remain compliant with new regulations such as GDPR or PSD2.

A platform for success

CIOs are taking steps to overcome these barriers – at a fundamental level, this means moving towards a platform-oriented approach. Banking and financial services CIOs understand the need to invest in a centralised cloud customer communications platform as our research indicates that more than half (53%) plan to invest in this area over the next 18 months. This would provide businesses with a unified view, putting them in control, and allowing them to work towards automating two-way digital customer interactions.

Adopting a platform approach, enables greater levels of automation across the customer lifecycle; the research shows that banking and financial services CIOs recognise just how crucial automation is for businesses to deliver proactive, two-way customer communications:

  • More than a quarter (77%) fear an inability to automate customer journeys end-to-end will lead their organisation to fall behind competitors
  • However, only a quarter (25%) are currently able to automate customer communications journeys from end-to-end
  • Only half (50%) are automating customer communications journeys, while 45% say they plan to automate them in the next three years.

This research was conducted by Vanson Bourne, who surveyed 200 UK CIOs and senior IT decision makers at large enterprises – 50 of whom worked within banking and financial services.

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Study: 1 in 10 fintechs’ main priority for 2021 is survival

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Study: 1 in 10 fintechs’ main priority for 2021 is survival 1
  • FinTech Connect reveals that many fintechs simply want to survive the next year
  • 44% of fintechs are focused on optimising business processes to improve efficiencies
  • Over a third said they had launched new services addressing new demands

FinTech Connect, the trade show that connects the global fintech ecosystem, today revealed the priority for one in ten fintech firms over the next year is survival. The findings from FinTech Connect’s FinTech State of Play Benchmarking Report, which is based on a survey of 144 fintech professionals, explores the biggest industry issues of 2020 and looks forward to what 2021 has in store.

Impact of Covid-19

As remote working and living remains a priority to keep customers safe, fintechs have adapted their offerings. Although a number of other sectors including hospitality and travel have suffered as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, fintechs remain confident that business will survive and even thrive.

  • 40% said Covid-19 had accelerated their digital transformation model
  • 36% said they had launched new services addressing new demand
  • 34% said their growth had accelerated as a result of the pandemic
  • 65% said that the remote working had driven innovation

The Wake of Wirecard

Despite the Wirecard scandal prompting industry soul searching and a review of regulation and governance practices, 83% of fintechs said the collapse had no impact on their own business. However, when fintechs are asked about the wider impact on the industry:

  • 59% said it will result in overcorrection from regulatory bodies
  • 42% said it will result in declining trust from customers
  • 25% said it will lead to declining investment into the sector

Brexit Uncertainty

Despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit, fintechs remain confident in their ability to manage Brexit:

  • 40% of respondents believe London will remain the European capital of fintech after Brexit
  • 30% of fintechs admit they haven’t made significant headway preparing for Brexit

“The spread of COVID-19 has brought the sector’s profitability and long-term business model sustainability into sharp focus—to a point where I believe the path to profitable scale for challenger banks has been structurally altered. But it is not at all to write off the sector,” said Abhijit Akerkar, Non-Executive Director, TBC Bank Group PLC. “Challenger banks have several long-term advantages—they are native to the digital arena, with more efficient cost structures, organizational agility, and, most importantly, higher customer loyalty. These advantages will help challenger banks weather the storm.”

“Whether we look forwards or backwards, Covid-19 is defining a new status-quo for the industry. From regulation to innovation to funding and culture, it is impossible to step out of the shadow cast by the pandemic,” Laurence Coldicott, Content Director, FinTech Connect “In response, fintech’s are prioritising digital transformation to meet customers where they are, and improving operational processes to ensure they are as efficient as possible.”

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How to Build an AI Strategy that Works

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How to Build an AI Strategy that Works 2

By Michael Chalmers, MD EMEA at Contino

Six steps to boosting digital transformation through AI

In the age of artificial intelligence, the way we interact with brands and go about our work and daily lives has changed. No longer blithe buzzwords, AI tools and algorithms are solving real business problems, streamlining operations, boosting productivity, improving customer experience, and creating opportunities for advantage in a competitive marketplace.

However, many businesses struggle to unlock the full benefits that come with its adoption across the whole organisation. Making the most of AI requires a strategic focus, alignment with the specific operating model of the business, and a plan to implement it in a way that delivers real value.

Not all AI strategies are equal. To be successful, businesses need to set out how the technology will achieve objectives and identify the specific assets and case uses that will set them apart from competitors. The process of creating and delivering a successful AI strategy includes the following six essential elements that will help to bake in business success.

  1. Start with your vision and objective

One slip-up companies often make when developing an AI strategy is a failure to match the vision to the execution. Almost inevitably, this results in disjointed and complicated AI programmes that can take years to consolidate. Choosing an AI solution based on defined business objectives established at the start of a project reduces the risk of delay and failure.

As with any project or initiative, it’s crucial to align your corporate strategy with measurable goals and objectives to guide your AI deployment. Once a strategy is set and proven, its much quicker and easier to roll it out across divisions and product teams, maximising its benefits.

  1. Build a multi-disciplinary team 

AI is not an island. Multi-disciplinary teams are best placed to assess how the AI strategy can optimally serve their individual needs. Insights and inputs from web design, R&D and engineering will together ensure your plan hits objectives for key internal stakeholders.

It’s also important to recognise that with the best will and effort, the strategy might not be the perfect one first time around. Being prepared to iterate and flex the approach is a significant success factor. By fostering a culture of experimentation, your team will locate the right AI assets to form your unique competitive edge.

  1. Be selective about the problems you fix first

Selecting ‘lighthouse’ projects based on their overall goals and importance, size, likely duration, and data quality allow you to demonstrate the tangible benefits in a relatively short space of time. Not all problems can be fixed by AI, of course. But by identifying and addressing issues quickly and effectively, you can create beacons of AI capability that inspire others across the organisation.

Lighthouse projects should aim to be delivered in under eight weeks, instead of eight months. They will provide an immediate and tangible benefit for the business and your customers to be replicated elsewhere. These small wins sow the seeds of transformation that swell from the ground up, empowering small teams to grow in competency, autonomy and relatedness.

  1. Put the customer first, and measure accordingly

Customer-centricity is one of the most popular topics among today’s business leaders. Traditionally, businesses were much more product-centric than customer-centric. Somebody built products and then customers were found. Now, the customer is, and should be, at the heart of everything businesses do.

By taking a customer-centric approach, you will find that business drivers determine many technology decisions.  When creating your AI strategy, create customer centric KPIs that align with the overall corporate objectives and continually measure product execution backwards through the value chain.

  1. Share skills and expertise at scale through an ‘AI community of practice’

The journey to business-wide AI adoption is iterative and continuous. Upon successful completion of a product, the team should evolve into what’s known as an ‘AI community of practice’, which will foster AI innovation and upskill future AI teams.

In the world of rapid AI product iterations, best practices and automation are more relevant than ever. Data science is about repeatable experimentation and measured results. Suppose your AI processes can’t be repeated, and production is being done manually. In that case, data science has been reduced to a data hobby.

  1. Don’t fear failure: deploying AI is a continuous journey 

The formula for successful enterprise-wide AI adoption is nurture the idea, plan, prove, improve and then scale. Mistakes will be made, and lessons learned. This is a completely normal – and valuable – part of the process.

Lighthouse projects need to be proven to work, processes need to be streamlined and teams need to upskill. Businesses need a culture of learning and continuous improvement with people at the centre, through shorter cycles, to drive real transformation.

An experimental culture and continuous improvement, through shorter cycles, can drive real transformation. A successful AI strategy acts as a continually evolving roadmap across the different business functions (people, processes and technology) to ensure your chosen solutions are working towards your business objectives. In short, let your business goals guide your AI transformation, not the other way around.

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Iron Mountain releases 7-steps to ensure digitisation delivers long-term benefits

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Iron Mountain releases 7-steps to ensure digitisation delivers long-term benefits 3

Iron Mountain has released practical guidance to help businesses future-proof their digital journeys. The guidance is part of new research that found that 57% of European enterprise plan to revert new digital processes back to manual solutions post-pandemic.

The research revealed that 93% of respondents have accelerated digitisation during COVID-19 and 86% believe this gives them a competitive edge. However, the majority (57%) fear these changes will be short-lived and their companies will revert to original means of access post-pandemic.

“With 80% still reliant on physical data to do their job, now is a critical time to implement more robust, digital methods of accessing physical storage,” said Stuart Bernard, VP of Digital Solutions at Iron Mountain. “Doing so can enhance efficiency and deliver ROI by unlocking new value in stored data through the use of technology to mine, review and extract insight.”

Why revert?

When COVID-19 hit, companies had to think fast and adapt. Digital solutions were often taken as off-the-shelf, quick fixes – rarely the most economical or effective. But they are delivering benefits – those surveyed reported productivity gains (27%), saving time (20%), enhancing data quality (13%) and cutting costs (12%).

So what now?

The Iron Mountain study includes guidance for how to turn quick-fixes into sustained, long-term solutions. The seven-steps are designed to help businesses future-proof their digital journeys and maximize value from physical storage:

1)     Gather insights: The COVID-19 pandemic allowed organisations to test and learn. Companies should ensure these insights are fed into developing more robust solutions.

2)     Use governance as intelligence: Information governance and compliance are fundamental to data handling. But frameworks aren’t just a set of rules, they hold valuable insights that can be turned into actionable intelligence. Explore your framework to extract learnings.

3)     Understand your risk profile: A key early step is to analyse where you are most vulnerable. With data in motion and people working remotely, which records are at risk? What could be moved into the cloud? Are your vendors resilient?

4)     Focus where you will achieve greatest impact: To prioritise successfully, you need to know where you will achieve the largest impact. This involves looking beyond initial set-up costs towards the holistic benefits of digitisation, including reducing time spent on manual scanning, and the risk of compliance violations.

5)     Reach out and collaborate: We are all in this together. Your IT, security, compliance and facility management teams are all facing the same challenges. Ensure you collaborate across functions to develop robust, integrated solutions.

6)     Find a provider who can relate to your digital journey: For companies that still rely heavily on analogue solutions, digitisation can be daunting and risky. It pays to find a vendor who has been on the same journey, understands your paper processes and can guide you through the digital world.

7)     Prioritise and evolve communication and training programmes: To reap the full rewards from any digitisation initiative, thorough and continuous communication and training is critical. Encouragingly, our survey found that 81% of data handlers have received training to work digitally which is an excellent step in the right direction, but consider teams beyond data handling to truly succeed.

The research was commissioned by Iron Mountain in collaboration with Censuswide. It surveyed 1,000 data handlers among the EMEA region. It found that the departments that have digitised more due to COVID-19 include IT support (40%), customer relationship management (36%), and team resource planning (34%).

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