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Digital Transformation in Financial Services

You’ve definitely heard the phrase personalized customer experience thrown around a lot. Like all other areas in business and finance, banks try to use the latest technologies to understand what every client wants and how it can best be tailored and offered to them. There are numerous tools a bank could use to draw new clients, like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, digital banking, virtual advisors, mobile apps, platforms, and so on.

The digital world is transforming all areas of human life, and the financial service industry is no exception. Digital transformation drives these changes and creates new interactions between clients and financial institutions, constantly making things easier and more efficient. 

Digital Transformation in Financial Services

Understanding Digital Transformation in Financial Services

The way the financial service industry works requires diverse processes. Still, digital transformation, by definition, means creating a single digital ecosystem across all the departments that make up your financial service. It would help to have a comprehensive plan to transform all your processes into digital ones. Only by doing so will you be able to make a realistic long-term plan for your business in today’s competitive world. 

It’s simply impossible to exaggerate the importance and necessity of digitizing all parts of one’s business. One study conducted in 2020 shows that 62% of companies have reported that they plan on prioritizing their digital transformation. Once you have assigned enough investment to this crucial project, you must find the right people to help you. It’s a very technical journey; only a team of experts can provide you with a digital road map.

Current Digital Transformation Initiatives

It is usually suggested that 2018 was the year that witnessed a huge change in how things are done in the financial service industry. That was when cloud computing became the norm, and analytics revolutionized how customer data was used. The digital economy also made it possible to reach out to new markets. The financial service had to take a more proactive approach and use new technologies to attract a more tech-savvy customer base.

A personalized customer experience is at the center of all technological changes in the financial service industry. So let’s review some of the current digital transformation initiatives.

Another state-of-the-art technology used by the financial industry is blockchain. It enables secure payments, identity management, smart contracts, etc. In the face of all these changes, it’s hard to imagine how a bank can survive in this competitive market unless they use things like data analytics or automation to bring about efficiency to their business.

Digital Transactions

This is probably the most important step taken from a paper transaction to a digital one. It is also a widespread expectation from a financial service company to provide a fast and secure digital transaction option. Paperless transactions are efficient and convenient both for the provider and the service user. However, more important is the capability of digital transactions to create a more personalized customer experience. 

Workflow Automation

Another part of digital transformation that a financial service company cannot do without is workflow automation. The system consisting of human employees should be replaced by software robots as much as possible. The new system will take care of repetitive and boring office tasks. It is far less likely to make errors and saves a lot of money in the long run. An example could be coding invoices and sending them off for approval, all done automatically and according to the preferences and regulations of your company.  

Artificial Intelligence

This section of your digital transformation is where you can really create an edge over your rivals. Figures show that 85% of financial institutions already use AI, meaning you need to adopt the latest technologies to outdo them. 

It’s also interesting to know that the average financial institution heavily invested in AI recovered much faster after the pandemic. AI, machine learning, and data analytics could come in handy in many areas of your business, including automated fraud detection, credit risk analysis, personalized recommendation engines, and so on. Through data analytics, you can identify patterns and predict an unfavorable situation that is otherwise unpredictable. Therefore, thanks to the AI system, taking the necessary steps to neutralize a coming crisis is possible. There is simply no doubt that embracing AI into your business is one of the most necessary investments your company is in great need of/

The Cloud

Many might be surprised to learn that the number of brick-and-mortar banks has dropped during the last decade, all due to Online and mobile banking. This trend gained momentum during the pandemic. Some of the new services available include payment processing, alternative lending, automated investing, and wealth management services. One thing that is in common between the top fintech organizations is that they all operate on the cloud. Cloud providers can offer fast and highly secure services for your data. Banks and insurance companies are among the top customers of the cloud. Computing and restoring hardware are costly to buy or maintain. Still, you can spend this money on your other priorities thanks to cloud-based solutions. 

Digital Transformation Examples in Finance

Now let’s review a few real-life examples of financial companies that tried digital transformation. 

DBS Bank

DBS Bank

DBS is unique because it was the first bank that established a digital-only bank. The Singaporean bank started its project with three goals in mind:

  1. A comprehensive approach to digitization
  2. A way the customer journey can be guided to meet the bank’s objectives
  3. Transform the company’s culture to perform like a startup

One of the very first steps was to make digital platforms. They knew the speed of banking processes was key to their success. To expand their services in India, they offered a mobile-only option that turned out to be a success. 

ING Banking Group

ING banking group implemented digital transformation back in June 2015. They were looking for ways to adapt to a shift in customer behavior. Their answer was an Omnichannel environment that welcomed the customer journey. By launching DevOps and IT delivery services, they dominated the Dutch mobile bank environment. 

The banking group also offered extensive training courses for their employees to ensure they were equipped with the knowledge and skills required for a digital banking system. ING finally found success through an increase in engagement, quick response to market and demand, and offering a much more convenient customer experience. 

Customer-Centric Digital Solutions

Anybody engaged with the banking industry, financial services, or fintech firms knows that customer expectations have never been higher. With all the offers bombarding people every day, it’s not easy to keep one’s clients satisfied. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to invest in technologies that help understand what every single individual wants and how they want it. Your company needs an effective strategy to constantly reevaluate your customers’ data. Such data is gathered through different channels, such as the sales cycle, onboarding, customer service inquiries, etc. Ideally, your relationship with your customer must be a partnership, with their needs and desires taking center stage. 

Let’s review a more non-AI approach before we discuss data analytics. A common method of analyzing data is categorization by demographics. The next step is to create detailed individual customer profiles. Your financial advisors could ask questions and categorize the customers accordingly. For example: Is your customer insecure or confident about financial matters? Do they prefer the in-person approach or a banking app? Were they ever engaged with any type of institution similar to yours? How did it work out? And any other questions about their history and latest activities. 

Now it goes without saying that a company equipped with only human financial advisors making cannot compete with robo-advisors and chatbots in some regards. Your AI-enabled chatbots should be able to handle most inquiries and only leave a few complex inquiries for your human advisors. That will save you a lot of money and makes your service more convenient and satisfying for the customers. But there are more efficient efficiencies that a traditional approach can bring about. Keep reading, and you will see what we mean. After the data is gathered, you must restore such data on a customer relationship management (CRM) system and create profiles. Your customers have access to their profiles and can update them. 

After you get your hands on all the data you can get from your customers, whether through their profiles or a third party, you need to analyze what the data means and how it can be used. Now this is where you cannot go far without the help of AI. All the data gathered over time will be of little use if it cannot result in identifying behavioral patterns and building predictive models. Now this is a very broad and complex part of running a financial service, but let’s review some of the ways an AI system can create a more customer-centric service.

Identify customers that might churn

By processing data and identifying patterns, an AI system can help you determine if and when, and why an unsatisfied customer may churn. A quality AI system can also suggest the necessary actions you should take before you lose your customer. Even if you cannot improve your customer’s experience and they ultimately leave, this data will be useful for your AI system to improve its suggestions for the next cases.

Intelligent chatbots

Your AI-driven chatbots can gather information on which parts of your service your customers complain about and what they prefer to be offered instead. This means you won’t have to waste resources and time to try to succeed by trial and error. Your AI will show you the shortcut to success.

You have probably heard about conversational AI before. Another magical thing about intelligent chatbots is that they can understand how customers feel about a single aspect of your service and adapt their language accordingly. Such chatbots are simply different from older versions which only worked like unemotional robots.

Personalized recommendations

Just think about how millions endorse the service they receive through Netflix and Spotify. What did they get right? Many things are for sure, but making hyper-personalized recommendations is certainly among their top secrets to success. Show every potential customer what they want and how they wish to see it, and they will come on board. If you could hack into their deep desires, only possible through AI, the sky is the limit for your business.

Convenient customer journey

Ever wondered why Apple and Amazon are among the richest companies in the world? Amazon is known for demanding the least possible customer efforts to provide its services, and Apple manufactures the most user-friendly products of its kind. They make life easier for their customers, and the customers make up for it by paying them colossally. 

This part of facilitating your customer’s experience is also related to how user-friendly your website and payment systems are. Another big part is to develop an app that reduces customer effort as much as possible. 

Let’s go back to the topic of intelligent chatbots for a second. What if your chatbot can make things easier for your customer by assisting them in selecting services, making payments, requesting information, making suggestions, filing complaints, and so on without visiting a website or downloading yet another app? You could use your intelligent chatbots on popular platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram to reap the benefits. To enjoy the full benefits of chatbots, you could make them voice-enabled to boost a more convenient customer journey.

ING Banking Group

Overcoming Challenges and Ensuring Security

So far, it is obvious that the impact of Digital Transformation on Financial Institutions is tremendous. But is there a catch? There are quite a few challenges when it comes to digital transformation. The biggest concern for a financial organization is security. It is possible that extending technologies into more areas of your business may expose you to more cybersecurity risks. That is why taking strict security measures should be one of the vital steps in your digital transformation journey. Digid’s cybersecurity services are a great way to ensure your financial service business from malicious attacks and leaks.

Your company needs highly skilled CISOs to safeguard you and your customers. Cyber security is irreplaceable when it comes to building trust and solidifying your position in the market. Invest in this area as much as you can, and you will reap the rewards in the long run. 

The Future of Digital Transformation in Financial Services

The financial service industry has been one of the sectors most affected by digital transformation, and the reason is obvious. Digital transformation has repeatedly proved that it is unmatched in reducing costs and increasing efficiency. While banking apps and implementing artificial intelligence in customer service haven’t been around for long, we already see parts of the financial sector adopting blockchain technologies and digital wallets. Things are moving at the speed of light, and nobody quite knows what’s coming next. But one thing we know for sure is that these changes will not reverse, and the digital transformation will only get more prevalent and complex. And if financial service owners are still hesitant about implementing digital transformation, tomorrow could be a little too late. So, reach out today and discuss your path to digital transformation and growth with Digid.

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