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Is Your Business Ready for Digital Disruption?

Suranjan Som Suranjan Som
VP, Banking and Financial Services, EMEA, Hitachi Digital Services

October 27, 2021

It’s one of the great paradoxes of doing business in the 21st century: Customers expect more personalized products and services even as in-person customer contact decreases.

This is just one of several disruptive trends facing every industry. At the first day of Hitachi Financial Services Summit 2021, I addressed these challenges in a keynote session with Marek Chlebicki of Raiffeisen Bank International. We examined in detail just how you can catch the wave of digital disruption and ride that wave to a successful banking model.

For financial services organizations, notable disruptive trends that are emerging include the demand for real-time banking services, cashless transactions, and an exceptional customer experience across every banking function. At the same time, these institutions are under internal pressures to reduce costs, move to open banking models, and focus on sustainability, trust, and transparency.

Competitive heat from fintechs is a significant driver of these pressures, and I see many traditional financial services organizations working hard to resist them. But what if resistance isn’t the answer? In the “Ride the Wave of Digital Disruption” keynote session, I shared how forward-thinking finance businesses are turning this problem on its head: Instead of resisting, they are riding the wave of disruption themselves.

These organizations are embracing data automation and democratization, along with adoption of the cloud as an extension of their internal organizations, to equip themselves to innovate at speed and scale. They recognize that in today’s environment, disruption is not an isolated event but a permanent change in the way the world conducts business.

How Can Your Business Catch the Wave of Digital Disruption?

Positioning your financial institution to respond to and participate in digital disruption requires a philosophical change. I’d suggest asking your organization the following questions:

  • How can we manage a change of this magnitude?
  • What approaches can we take to embrace today’s disruptions and anticipate the next wave?
  • How will our enterprise foster responsiveness and agility across the organization?
  • Are there tools and techniques we can use to assess our progress in transforming our culture and operations?
  • What’s the best way for us to distinguish ourselves as disruptive leaders in our market?

Reaching that market position takes discipline and a commitment to consistent excellence in practice and performance.

The industry’s emerging leaders recognize the value of fostering responsiveness and agility, and of assessing how well they’re assimilating this new culture. In my keynote discussion, I explained that data mining, analytics, and the judicious use of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are key to this type of transformation. By drawing on internal and external resources to collect information and leverage its full power, leaders in the sector will establish the road map they need to convert vision to verifiable results.

As the sector grapples with the sea changes it faces, the executives emerging as disruptive leaders are the innovators who have invested in the vision, the organizational talent, and the engineering and technology infrastructure necessary to ride this wave instead of being pulled under it.

Getting Ready To Ride the Wave

The strength of a bank is based on its people and its use of money and technology. Digital capabilities aren’t simply bolted onto the traditional bank model. They need to be integrated with the foundational pillars that a financial institution rests on for differentiation and customer loyalty. These pillars are a traditional bank’s key to remaining successful against fintech-enabled startups that become legitimate competitors within a matter of months. At the same time, financial institutions need fully developed digital tools, supporting processes and talent to continue building upon them. These are necessary to keep pace with changes in the regulatory environment and standards of practice in data management.

Disruption is redefining the market. Leaders will be writing that definition while those behind them will be struggling to catch up. That’s why most of the largest financial institutions have established incubation hubs for innovation companies and fintechs. These hubs are internal centers for developing and integrating technology advances, whether they rely on proprietary tools or those licensed from a third party. Banks that support these hubs recognize the value of having a stake in the fintech ecosystem and the technology that’s enabling this disruption. With this forward-thinking philosophy, they can strengthen their customer offerings, their operations and their business models.

New Vision for a New Market

Digital disruption paves the way for digitally enabled scalability, agility, and velocity in developing new ideas and solutions. Did you miss Day 1? Register for Day 2 of the Hitachi Financial Services Summit, which runs from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. PST (U.S. time) and 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. CET (Europe time) tomorrow, October 28. You’ll learn firsthand how investments in the cloud, AI and automation are fostering a culture of innovation that is becoming a part of the modern financial institution’s corporate identity. By drawing on disruptive technologies such as open source and distributed database infrastructures, forward-thinking organizations can move away from archaic work structures and the cost constraints that might have limited their ability to drive disruption in the past.

At Hitachi Vantara, we share this vision of the data-driven financial institution: the financial organization that uses all of the information it has in-house to build a knowledge core that empowers optimal performance at every customer touch point.

Want to learn more about riding the wave of digital disruption? Register for the Hitachi Financial Services Summit today!

Suranjan Som is Vice President, Head of Financial Services and Client Engagement Partner at Hitachi Vantara.

Suranjan Som

Suranjan Som

Suranjan Som is Vice President, Head of Financial Services Consulting, and Client Engagement Partner, EMEA, at Hitachi Vantara.