Over half of UK financial services business leaders (56%) are worried their organisation could miss out on the benefits of technological innovation because they haven’t planned radically enough for it, according to Fujitsu’s ‘Driving a Trusted Future in a Radically Changing World’ report. Although a similar number (55%) feel their organisation has been a leader in technological innovation over the last five years, 52% of financial services business leaders admit that public or customer nervousness has stopped their organisation from adopting certain technologies, with half (48%) worried their organisation will never be able to fully satisfy public expectations.
The investments in technology and swift adoption of new solutions within the financial services industry hasn’t gone unnoticed by the UK public, with a third (33%) of the UK public is saying that the way they bank has changed in the last five years and two-fifths (40%) saying that technology has played a positive role in how they manage their personal finances. However, despite this positivity, financial services business leaders are still nervous about what lies ahead. Indeed, the majority (50%), admit they cannot predict what their sector will look like in five years, with a further 55% not able to predict what customers will want from their organisation in the future.
According to Ian Bradbury, Financial Services CTO at Fujitsu UK & Ireland, this openness to innovation is crucial for today’s financial services leaders.
“The country’s financial services landscape has undergone incredible changes in the last five years; the pace at which new technology is transforming the way banks and insurers interact with their consumers is tremendous. It’s not surprising that many in the industry feel as if they haven’t put the right foundations in place to take advantage of all that technology has to offer for their business; and their customers. But they are clearly open to the potential of technology and are open to adopting new ways of serving their customers, so now is the time for them to put the right plans in place to ensure they are prepared to tap into the innovations to come. This includes making investment in digital technologies a key priority for the business. Although significant steps have been taken already, to succeed in the digital age and bring innovative solutions to the market, business leaders will need to make a sizeable financial commitment.”
The importance of innovation to financial services leaders is clear: almost three-quarters (71%) believe that technology is vital to the future success and health of their organisation, and a further 35% consider themselves to be ‘innovators’ (always the first to adopt an innovation, often before others) when it comes to how quickly they adopt and embrace new technology. However, whilst the view of the role of technology within financial services is a positive one, business leaders are not blind to the risks. Over a third (35%) say that keeping up with regulation and governance and protecting themselves from cyber-attacks and data theft (30%) are major threats to their organisation’s success. At the same time, over two-fifths of financial services business leaders (42%) worry that the public trusts their organisation today less than five years ago.
Despite the challenges, financial services leaders are positive about the changes they’ve faced; in fact, while 61% said they’d experienced radical change in the last five years, more than half (55%) said the changes were very positive for their business.
“Financial services leaders have been faced with no small challenge. Their customers are asking them to innovate and provide new digital services, but at the same time there exist very real threats in the form of data governance and protection. It’s a tough balancing act to get right. But they must ensure they find this balance, if they are to increase trust among a sceptical and demanding public, continued Ian Bradbury. “Financial services leaders must continue to put themselves at the forefront of innovation and ensure they are prepared to take advantage of new technology that will see them create the digital-first future that so many customers are looking for.”