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Hitachi Solutions recently hosted a roundtable with leaders from across the Financial Services industry, including delegates from the core sub-sectors: Banking & Capital Markets, Insurance and FinTech. The discussion centered around best practice for ensuring successful digital transformation in the sector.  

Attendees included: Directors, SVPs, C-Suite Executives, Principal Architects and Global Heads of Data, Infrastructure and Technology. This blog explores the themes we discussed and shares best practice tips from some of the industries most experienced business transformation leaders.

Man and woman working together
Careers couple looking at device

Given the breadth of ‘digital transformation’ as a subject, and its increasing buzz word status across the industry, we started by ensuring all participants were aligned on what it means; “the adoption of digital technology by an organisation to achieve a goal.”   

Moving on to the question of what successful digital transformation looked like to each participant, one stated that the currency of digital transformation is speed, and that time-to-value is a great measure of success when it comes to technology deployments.  

Others collectively agreed that improving the customer experience through technology is what tends to lead to greater success in transformation projects as the customer should come first, and the drive to make a customer-related project successful is often higher than others. An opinion that gained the greatest consensus as a measure of digital transformation success, was replacing a non-sustainable process or system with technology to make it more sustainable. 

“What we had in place was not sustainable, and therefore transforming our way of working with a sustainable solution was what we saw to be successful.”

What is stopping you from effectively executing digital transformation? Responses to this question varied by the type of organisation that was being represented. Delegates from Banking, Capital Markets and Insurance were struggling to obtain buy-in from all departments across the business, especially the large multinationals that operated with autonomy by region.  

On the other hand, the delegates from FinTech’s were more mature in their approach due to the nature of their business, and therefore had a better culture to support their digital transformation approach on a global scale.  

That said, it was largely concurred that one of the biggest barriers to effectively executing their transformation strategies, is a lack of the right people with the capabilities and experience to support the digital journey.  

“We need to find the right people, skillset and invest in nurturing talent” 

At Hitachi Solutions, we find this to be the case in a lot of the businesses that we work with, which is why we often work closely with customer resource teams to ensure knowledge is effectively transferred during projects. 

“Taking a top-down approach is the key to success” 

Many delegates agreed that the technology is not what determines a successful implementation, but in fact, the broader plan and approach that is taken to deploy it. The participants agreed that transformation initiatives need to be determined from the top-down. If new projects are driven by junior employees, they lack the connection to the leadership team and therefore the executive sponsorship that is necessary to align them to strategic objectives that provide a true measure of impact and success.  

In answer to the question of whether any of the participants were doing anything unique to support their transformation strategies, it was agreed that attending roundtables and industry events was helpful in terms of sharing knowledge and best practice with peers. Several organisations also favoured in-house workshops, to identify gaps in processes and opportunities to improve them. However, the majority agreed the most effective transformation support strategy, was having regular contact with suppliers, and forming strong partnerships with technology experts in this area, to help advise and direct.  

“We have very close relationships with our suppliers and have found that leveraging these partnerships has been massively beneficial.” 

By the end of the roundtable, it was clear that although the delegates and their organisations differ in terms of their people, products, services, cultures, and digital transformation challenges, they also have many commonalities 

The whole sector is bought together by similar legal forces that need to be conformed to, such as regulation, policy change and data security. Furthermore, increased competition, evolving customer expectations and pressure to streamline operations are all major factors driving the need for robust digital transformation strategies across the industry.  

If you are interested in discussing any of the themes touched on here further with any of our digital transformation experts, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Harry Crouch

Author Spotlight

Harry Crouch

Having worked with a broad range of Financial Services organisations, Harry has developed an eager focus on delivering value and success to the sector. Harry's experience, willingness to help, and meticulous planning, enable financial institutions to overcome challenges and achieve key objectives by leveraging expertise and Microsoft technologies.