What's holding financial services back?

The financial services industry has a wealth of data at its fingertips. The challenge is how to use it to drive meaningful change. We're not there yet explains CEO, Andrew Walsh.

The signs of an automated future in financial services have been there for a long time - arguably since ATMs (or cashpoints if you’re in the UK) sprung up in the 1960s.

Trading has been revolutionised by automation. Mortgage applications are increasingly automated. Pension funds are automating experiences for members. Financial advice is ripe for greater automation.

Those who succeed in an automated world will imagine what an automated future means for their business and work backwards from that. Those seeking only to adapt from today’s position are likely to fall short.

Imagining an automated future is difficult when the technology doesn’t exist. But in the financial services industry, that’s not the case. Automation technology is everywhere. So, why isn’t it happening faster?

Two reasons: Business priorities and data.

Hands up if you think you’re doing data well

I’m yet to have a conversation with any CEO, CTO or COO - or anyone for that matter - who feels 100% on top of their data. Data envy (and data despair) are alive and well in organisations everywhere.

Data envy (and data despair) are alive and well in organisations everywhere.

Many financial services businesses have become expert at data gathering. It’s pouring in. But is it organised? (rarely), do they get the most out of it? (no) and can they access it easily? (no).

Yes data can help you understand if you are compliant. But compliant is neither a competitive edge nor a measure of what value a client is receiving.

Data should help you understand how clients and users are investing and behaving - and whether they are getting value. Are they logging into your portal? Are they reading your marketing content? Are they opening the documents you send? Are they interacting with you online?

Those unable to manage and leverage data might continue to operate effectively in the short-term but will become increasingly uncompetitive, and outpaced, quickly.

An elusive, but powerful weapon

Consistent and accurate data is the carbohydrate of a healthy and robust financial system. It’s the missing link in the compliance, growth and client experience equation - whether it’s data capture, data storage, data safety or data analytics. It’s a powerful asset to engage clients and build businesses.

And it will be the defining point of difference between those businesses who imagine the future and succeed, and those who don’t. If revenue growth, cost efficiency and improved client experience are in your strategy, then automation - and the right data - should be too.