Success and change in the financial industry have always been driven by three major forces: client demands, business competition, and innovation. With the advent of the internet, these pressures increased dramatically with clients and customers demanding fast quality services, regulators and auditors expanding asset managers’ obligations, and nimble start-up challengers like online banking and other financial service providers making inroads into the mobile markets.
For financial service firms, the trick has been finding the sweet spot between innovation risk and tried-and-true security measures. As digital technology efforts have fast replaced time-honored personal interactions, businesses have needed to innovate while not disrupting their core competencies in products and services. For larger, global firms, this challenge has meant developing long-term, strategic planning that exploits digital technology balanced against the need to pivot quickly when market changes demand.
Digital Transformation Has Enhanced Data Analytics
As the financial industry has moved to more software solutions to support their technology needs, they have gained enormous competitive advantages by tapping into the data produced. Everything from asset management trading volumes and pricing to banking credit processing to insurance underwriting now produces information about markets and clients that drives strategic planning and produces insights that lead to competitive insight advantages.
Financial firms are not only understanding their businesses better, they are also understanding their clients better, too. All this new data has led to innovative services in the mobile market to reach customers where they live today with the products and services they expect. Similarly, firms are also able to analyze underlying market forces like never before by aggregating vast amounts of data about stock pricing, market movements, geopolitical events, and sophisticated quantitative analysis of potential investments.
Digital Transformation Has Restructured Management
Whether a firm is large or small, new technologies have created new approaches for businesses to manage not only data, but the organizational structure that interacts with it. The finance industry continues to be under pressure to speed up, keep costs down, and improve results. The answer has been to deal with technological advances with more technology. Firms are finding ways to push their data analytics and solutions out to their staff and clients in usable, on-market ways that keep costs down by automating as much interaction as possible.
Internally, business decisions and work can be viewed and shared in real time, eliminating wait times for other areas to do their work. Essentially, work silos are vanishing as staff are able to access the resources they need to perform without needing in-person permissions or manual administrative processes greatly slow productivity down. This accessibility produces a high efficiency in production and reduced overhead costs as fewer staff is needed to administer the data and its processing.
Externally, a new collaborative effort has risen between businesses and their clients and customers. Through online portals, clients now have the ability to utilize streamlined access to their personal information that would otherwise require human interaction. They are able to access business performance, learn about news and updates, and initiate changes to their accounts all on their own.
Onboarding for various activities—which can be defined as anything from a customer opening a new account to new hires going through an initial human resources process—can now be handled efficiently with fewer errors or missed steps through self-help automation.
The key takeaway for all these benefits is more work completed with less staff time needed.
Digital Transformation has Unleased Business Innovation
Without digital technology, the volume of new information and the ability to analyze it would be unmanageable. Financial management firms are finding new ways to drill into their data troves with computer analytics that can spot trends, gaps, successes, and failures on a more granular level than a team of analysts could hope to do, and they can do it faster and more robustly. The analysists can then focus their attention on what to do with this information rather than struggle to determine if it exists.
Among the primary concerns all financial asset managers face, new demands for data security, auditable procedures, and strict adherence to a variety of government and regulatory agencies world-wide have become paramount. Digital technologies themselves have benefited from this need through the demand for tighter security measures such as blockchain technologies that build trust and confidence. Advances in machine learning (ML) and artificial technology (AI) platforms have become a part of strategic planning and allowed financial institutions to take control of their business directives that are uniquely their own.
Digital Transformation Needs Workflow Management
With the variety of new technologies deployed within a single firm, C-level executives are finding they require better oversight of the functioning of their firms. Workflow management platforms have become the answer. With so much of financial asset management moving into cloud-based technologies, workflow has joined it. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this need since it has necessitated a decentralization of office space and workers. Managers and supervisors are now finding new ways to monitor the work of individuals as well as demanding the ability to have an overall sense of how the organization is functioning.
Workflow management platforms are meeting the demands for both broad and focused oversight for project management, compliance issues, risk control, client relations, data security, and more. Software systems that can incorporate as much as the firm’s administrative oversight—including integrating with third-party vendors and software—now provide the ability for management staff to keep apprised of workflow.