A new digital dynamic for financial services

Chris Pope, VP of Innovation at ServiceNow

For the last decade (if not more), the financial services industry has undergone a process of extreme transformative change driven by digitisation, growing cybersecurity threats and shifting regulatory environments and priorities.

In tandem with these trends, there has been a dramatic increase in customer expectations and demands – which represents perhaps the most significant change in the financial service industry. Partly driven by a domino effect from other sectors, the financial services industry is under pressure from its user base to deliver new digital services and enhancements and to match innovations seen everywhere from consumer brands to public services.

Chris Pope
Chris Pope

This desire for intuitive, sharpened, personalised services has created a new digital dynamic for the financial services industry which goes beyond omni-channel integration and multi-channel interoperability. Instead, the industry must focus on becoming opti-channel – the optimisation of financial services for a new era of immersive experiences.

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For financial services organisations to capitalise fully on the opportunities of opti-channel approaches there is a significant technical challenge they must embrace.

Putting the foundations in place for immersive experiences

It is important to be clear what we mean by ‘immersive application experiences’.From a user point of view an immersive app is all about simple and intuitive user interfaces (UIs), obviously.

From the back-end view though, it’s about building immersive links to the operational core of the IT stack. Truly immersive financial services applications must integrate with core functional systems of record and transaction such as CRM and ERP.

Achieving that integration, while maintaining security and still delivering a seamless user experience requires a specific architecture. The foundation is the core of transactional services technology, with essential reporting functions integrated with the data storage fabric. Then a more agile layer of data analytics, security, integration and other product differentiation technologies can be layered on top. This supports the delivery of incremental services to users, that can be configured via their device touchpoints.

The final layer is an upper tier of truly agile services innovation. This is where new delivery channels and new products can be created dynamically and opti-channel intelligence is used to deliver new banking services optimised for every customer’s requirement model.

Reassessing the delivery chain

Of course, this architecture inherently reflects the need remove friction from the customer journey and drive greater process automation. But it also points to another key lesson for the financial services sector – the need to re-evaluate the organisation’s place in the total delivery chain.

As we go forward from here, the truly contemporary financial services company understands that it will not own every single piece of the delivery chain. Individual service components such as payment gateways, credit checks, background checks and financial investment extensions can now be more individually compartmentalised and, thus, delivered in a more optimal, opti-channel delivery mechanism.

This means that internal development teams also need to rethink their role as this pushes them way beyond agile methodologies. Organisation’s need a truly cross-functional workforce that is empowered to take on more ambitious projects with a network of scrums, squads, chapters, tribes and guilds all working together in a new matrix of positive connections.

Optimising services

If this layered approach is implemented, then financial organisations can start to provide the enhanced immersive experiences that customers want and next-generation services thereafter. Such optimised services for enterprises and consumers would support personalised ‘lifecycle events’, such as tax deadlines, mortgage milestones and auditory requirements.

This offers the end user the technologies they desire, which are optimised to understand their profiles, preferences, behavioural traits etc., with the deployment of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Financial organisations can offer this at first as optional plug-ins to existing infrastructure and then as part of a full-blown services offering for the biggest return on investment (ROI). This is the innovation capability that truly agile development enables.

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