The Disrupter’s Guide to Financial Services

13 September 2017 | Ricky Chau, Vice President, Enterprise, Asia Pacific

The financial services industry is a competitive one, and it has only gotten more challenging. As Singapore continues its push to transform into a Smart Nation, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is now working on creating a Smart Financial Centre with a vision to increase efficiency, create opportunities, allow for better management of risks, and improve lives. By creating a vibrant and collaborative FinTech ecosystem, more disruptive innovations could potentially be on the way. According to 451 Research, approximately 46 percent of financial services organizations in Asia Pacific believe that disruption will increase in the next three years.

Customer behavior will also continue to change. The Prime Minister of Singapore recently touched on the country’s Smart Nation push to create a cashless economy, which is now one step closer to fulfillment with the new RazerPay proposal. These factors will change the preferences of customers and drive up demand for more convenient and flexible transactions.

On top of these developments, financial service organizations still have to contend with the evergreen problems of compliance regulations and cyber attacks. Recent high-profile attacks like Petya and WannaCry reinforce this fact. In fact, one of the top drivers for digital transformation has been identified by industry professionals to be the need to improve risk management and protection against cyber threats.

Organizations must respond and they need to do so quickly. Here are three key areas of focus every financial services organization should zero in to stay ahead.

1. Make risk management a priority

Financial services organizations must have a good foundation in risk management. Disregarding such a crucial concern and challenge could lead to breaches and loss of customer trust. About 67 percent of organizations indicated that protecting against cyber threats was of high importance when it came to digital transformation. Organizations must have a deep sensitivity to both data privacy and risk mitigation. In addition, it’s crucial to take a “spend smarter, not more” approach to cybersecurity. Assess infrastructures, networks, and assets for vulnerabilities and prioritize them according to risk. Then, apply the right capabilities to secure them. 

2. Predict, personalize, deliver

Financial services should focus on simplifying the process of doing business with their customers. Approximately 63 percent of businesses said that delivering personalized experiences is imperative to digital transformation. Hence, organizations can leverage predictive analytics to push offers to customers and use messaging campaigns that harness data to grasp their intents. This will enable organizations to personalize better mobile experiences for their customers. Financial services organizations must continue to commit to mobile technologies, as consumers are switching to mobile devices for banking, insurance claims, and personal financial management.

3. Align IT with line-of-business needs

Financial service organizations should have an action plan to modernize their technology infrastructure into one that is able to enable growth and adapt to ever-changing business conditions. Hence the need to build an IT platform that transforms the ways data and information are used and business processes are organized. Organizations can entrust transformation fundamentals to a partner to drive their transformation roadmap. According to 451 Research, about 54 percent of financial service organizations have indicated that they want support from a cloud provider. Approximately 60 percent wish to work with an IT service partner.

Increasing customer expectations, changing regulations and digital evolutions are disrupting the financial services industry. Now more than ever, organizations need to transform to pre-empt the disruptions that are coming their way and strategize on how to address them. For a faster and smoother journey, organizations can consider working with strategic business and technology partners like CenturyLink

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