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Driving resilience and sustainable advantage in banking

The digital future of banking is more than just customer experience

As they emerge from global uncertainty, banks are well positioned to make strategic investments. Many see digital transformation as a key factor in their ability to remain competitive. Being able to quickly assess resources and run accurate predictive models are crucial capabilities for an unpredictable future.

Visionary banks are investing to drive faster, fitter and more agile operations. That’s where the cloud comes in. From predictive planning to back-office automation, cloud-based applications help banks get more value from the large amounts of data at their disposal. Further, they enable the intelligent workflows, remote access and real-time decision-making that are critical for creating sustainable advantage.

The changing banking sector

While disruption is coming from many directions, financial services senior executives are focused on three top change priorities, according to a PwC report:

Client and customer satisfaction: 90%

Consumers aren’t willing to wait, so banks need to be ready to deliver the digital experiences they demand. According to the American Bankers Association, mobile banking has already overtaken all other banking channels in popularity, as roughly one in four bank customers now say mobile apps are their top choice for conducting banking activities.

Regulatory compliance: 85%

With the regulatory environment of the sector often a roadblock for digital acceleration, banks are turning to cloud-based platforms with flexible reporting capabilities that can adapt to the continually evolving compliance rules. These platforms can provide a richer set of data that helps banks comply with changing regulations, as well as respond quickly and efficiently to audit requests.

Operational resilience: 82%

A comprehensive and effective environmental, social and governance (ESG) approach is necessary, as banks work to navigate the volatility created by health and humanitarian crises, social inequality and climate risk. Banks are also adopting technology that can help them analyze the landscape and predict possible outcomes with predictive analytics.

To set themselves up for success in an era of uncertainty, banking leaders need to stay ahead of the changes that are already underway—and prepare to pivot during the next wave of disruption.

As digital transformation accelerates in banking, five key capabilities are poised to set future leaders apart:

Holistic approach to digital transformation

An informed, holistic approach to digital transformation allows banks to concurrently evolve operations across all business units. This helps banks break down the silos that impede transformation.

Investments in data and analytics to drive innovation

As digital transformation continues to accelerate, banks will require more advanced capabilities to compete. According to a CBI/PwC Financial Services survey, most firms are already responding to disruption by employing new tech (85%) or offering new products and services (70%).

Smarter resource management and talent development

Enriching HR data with information about employees’ past projects, skills, productivity or customer satisfaction scores can help leaders turn raw data into meaningful insights that help run businesses more effectively.

New ways of working

In 2020, unprecedented changes required banks to build the capabilities to support a remote workforce. These capabilities now give banks the flexibility to offshore more work or rethink their talent and real estate strategy entirely. In an increasingly global job market, banks are looking to give their employees the tools that will make it easier to do their jobs, and the flexibility that enables greater work-life balance.

Real-time strategic planning

Disruption has become a constant. In this environment, shortening the horizon for strategic planning is no longer enough. In the new normal, banks need real-time data and an agile approach to strategy development. Digital tools such as Workday Adaptive Planning give leaders the ability to assess different responses to change—and shift their plan accordingly.

Successful transformation and driving resilience

Not all financial services organizations that set out with the goal of digital transformation end up delivering the desired results. Many struggle to invest in the solutions that will do the most to streamline their operations and enable strategic growth. 

As they invest in the infrastructure they need to provide a better experience for customers and employees, banks should look to embrace the platform economy. And, partnering with a technology leader can allow financial services companies to transform faster.

Successful banks of the future are building innovative and inclusive ecosystems today. In this environment, platforms will enable greater connectivity, more intricate interactions, and better products and services. With the right foundation in place, future banking leaders won’t need to work so hard to gain meaningful insights from their data. Intelligent, automated analysis will be a given, freeing leaders to do what they do best: think big.

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Peter Pollini

Peter Pollini

Banking and Capital Markets Consulting Leader, PwC US