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Ian Stone, Managing Director UK & Ireland at Anaplan

From my experience, a recent trend has emerged in the banking industry, whereby regulatory changes are no longer the primary concern of financial services executives. Instead, implementing a digital strategy has seemingly leapt to the top spot. In our digital world it’s concerning that one of the biggest industries around the globe is still struggling to put in place strategies and technologies which could deliver improved customer experiences, streamlined processes and greater profits.

In my view, there are two significant factors contributing to this shift. Firstly, the cultural change required to deliver innovations in businesses where technology increasingly has a role for employees of all kinds. The second is in knowing where to start with introducing new systems, particularly in the context of legacy systems working in tandem with new technologies.

Ian Stone - Anaplan UKI MD

Ian Stone – Anaplan UKI MD

When it comes to the cultural shift, it’s important to note that IT and technology is no longer simply the concern of the IT team. Digital tools are essential to many roles and the IT team can no longer work in a silo, but must engage with the wider business to understand their requirements and priorities. Having real time insights into customer behaviour, changing events on the ground in multiple markets and the market response to the introduction of new products are expectations which employees are likely demanding now. But if the focus is instead on keeping the lights on and keeping legacy systems up and running, employees might start to look elsewhere for technologies to better support them in their roles. The widescale adoption of the cloud and social media has accelerated this process, with alternative teams in the business gaining access to the tools they need to do their jobs more efficiently, often outside of the remit of the IT team. Working closely with teams such as HR, sales and finance to introduce cloud solutions can be a great way in which to introduce innovative new solutions on a small scale. These can then be rolled out to other teams over time as news of successful implementations spreads and more business units are brought into the system.

When it comes to these implementations, it’s also crucial to remember that putting in place innovative technologies no longer requires a complete overhaul of legacy systems. Instead, new tools can optimise current business processes and better support more traditional activities, enabling access to real time data and insights, without costly transformations of data storage or analytics. Particularly in using the power of the cloud, financial organisations can implement tools in a matter of weeks which could transform their ability to understand their market and their agility to respond to changes.

In terms of what to do next, I would suggest that leaders in the industry look at what they would like to achieve in the short and long term, where innovation is appropriate and consider tools which can be incorporated into existing IT infrastructure. Overcoming the digital hurdle can be tackled in manageable chunks, but still be hugely impactful on the business, so long as you keep your long-term strategy in mind.

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