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How Uncertainty Breeds Creativity within the Banking Industry

How Uncertainty Breeds Creativity within the Banking Industry

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the banking industry was thrown into a higher pace of digital transformation than it had ever experienced before. The need to keep up with digital-first incumbents had been present for many years but with the world in a lockdown, the challenge was heightened.

This giant shift to digitally transform at an accelerated rate led to difficult circumstances for many organizations. Some financial services companies made headlines for the wrong reasons, and many others struggled due to the limitations of legacy systems that are still in use.

But while some floundered, other rose to the challenge by embracing new fintech solutions and emerging platforms.

A Customer-Centric Approach to Change

It is difficult for financial firms to devise and deliver digital strategies while the market is stable, let alone when the fate of the industry—and even the world—is uncertain.

Forward planning was a particular struggle, with firms needing to distinguish quickly between trends that were simply passing fads and those set to define how banking would operate both in the pandemic and beyond.

Ultimately, those that succeeded in tackling the upheaval of the pandemic kept one thing front of mind—the customer.

Remote living during the pandemic made the development of fully featured digital experiences a mandatory feature in the banking portfolio. And financial institutions were forced to find new ways to connect with their customers.

Many revisited their digital infrastructure, looking at their current technology with new eyes and with a focus on being as flexible and adaptable to changing customer needs as possible.

Fintech That Drives the Customer Experience With Creativity

We’ve seen those who are more agile shift to what we at Persistent call the ‘digital mosaic’ model. It’s an approach to building a technology stack that brings maximum flexibility, allowing financial institutions to cherry pick and easily combine the best technology with the best features. These firms can quickly cater to existing customer needs, deliver the services they want, and introduce simplicity and accessibility to their offering.

A great example of this GB Bank – a ‘champion for the North’ challenger bank created to support property developers in the under-served regions of the UK.

The digital mosaic approach ensured the complexity of building the IT infrastructure translated into the simplicity and flexibility needed by the bank, allowing them to deliver excellent customer service, underpinned by a sophisticated and flexible technical platform.

Another example is Monument Bank where the digital mosaic of composable elements on AWS allowed them to choose the best apps for them, closely aligning with their strategy of building bank from scratch.

Seeking out the right expertise

The CTOs of financial institutions that I’m speaking to have a key priority—enabling superior and integrated customer experiences (CX). The financial landscape and consumer expectations have changed through the pandemic and attracting and retaining a loyal customer base sits at the heart of technology transformation.

In banking, good CX is all about delivering speed, quick access to funds and offering a range of features to help people navigate their finances when they want.

Many financial firms are turning to technology partners to help them be adaptable and ensure customers’ needs are at the forefront of their technology decisions. But it’s not a case of throwing bodies at a problem as you’ll simply end up with more people to manage—the banking equivalent of ‘too many cooks’ definitely spoiling the broth.

A dynamic industry needs dynamic delivery

When shortlisting technology partners, BFSI institutions need knowledge and expertise across three core elements: banking, technology, and software. It’s not enough to just tick one or two of the boxes.

Working with partners who have expert product engineering knowledge, are versatile, and can flex and adapt on the job is the best way to create a well-oiled machine that combines innovative processes and cutting-edge technologies.

The fintech technology landscape is extremely dynamic and fast-moving, so a partner with decades of experience isn’t always the answer either. It’s about working with teams who not only know today’s technologies but who have an eye on new trends, and can learn about and implement them quickly—a lesson learnt from the struggles faced by financial institutions at the beginning of the pandemic.

Regardless of whether financial institutions take on a partner to help them to adapt to further changes in market trends or continue solo, there’s no denying the creativity borne from the pandemic. Many firms proved that the BFSI sector is capable of fast paced problem solving and it’s those that keep this much-required pace and edge that will continue to out-perform the competition.

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