The Strategic Imperative to Address Changing Expectations

With more and more digitization in all aspects of life, customer expectations are changing. Consumers have grown accustomed to sharing data and information through various digital platforms and many now expect the same experience in financial services. In fact, according to a 2017 survey, 55% of millennials prefer to use a fintech platform to perform basic payment activities, while a LendEDU survey found that 65% of millennials are already using a mobile payment app.

With this increasing population of “digital natives” –– people who have grown up surrounded by digital technologies –– traditional financial services companies are feeling the pressure to position themselves to meet changing customer expectations and evolving competitive pressures. However, many product-driven financial services companies find it difficult to make the foundational shift to an experience-driven approach―one that meets customers’ expectations. This is due in large part to outdated infrastructure, siloed data, insufficient skill sets, and an inability to fully understand customer behavior.

As financial services companies move toward more robust data integration within the cloud, it has become increasingly evident that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each institution or company has its own priorities and requirements that call for unique strategic decision-making and a well-planned approached. Each organization should decide on the approach that best meets their needs. However, there are also common challenges that can be addressed through common steps.

Making the Move

For companies that are diving deeper into their transformation journey for sustainable growth, there are advantages to focusing on a holistic, cloud-based data management approach. Such an approach defines the appropriate scope of data migration and the best migration/cleansing process for the company’s needs. This type of approach also includes defining an integration plan that identifies key tools and teams to help provide the best use of data going forward.

This is what we call the journey within the cloud.

Put simply, the journey within the cloud establishes the framework for the shift toward a more flexible, data-driven, and customer-centric operating model―resulting in sustainable growth in the digitized financial services industry. Journeying within the cloud involves a refocus away from piecemeal solutions to data management and moving toward a pragmatic, structured, and holistic approach. However, this requires knowledge of and control over your data.

Digestible, structured data allow businesses to uncover improved operational insights and use this knowledge to generate personalized products and experiences for their customers. While there is no single structure that serves all companies in the same way, a strategic path toward cloud integration can help unlock data-driven opportunities going forward.

Taking Three Important Steps

There are three foundational steps to an effective journey within the cloud:

Step #1: Create a Holistic Cloud Data Strategy. Design an enterprise-wide, holistic cloud data and infrastructure strategy that provides support through new operating models, diverse stakeholders, and the appropriate governance.

Step #2: Migrate and Structure Data. Assess the scope of data migration and move data to the cloud, where it can be efficiently structured and cleansed.

Step #3: Identify Key Skills and Tools. Identify and integrate key tools, teams, vendors, alliances, and partners who can quickly deliver results. Establish an innovation hub to help foster innovative thinking, promote agile practices, and test and solve old problems with new approaches.

By taking a strategic, step-by-step approach to the journey within the cloud, companies can better capitalize on the opportunities at hand while retaining customers and providing more customer-centric services for sustainable growth.

In part two of this series, I will take a closer look at these three steps to success, exploring in detail how each step functions and how it can help drive transformation for financial services companies.

If you have any questions on the topic, please feel free to reach out to me.

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