Digital transformation for the financial services industry
Everyone has jumped on the digital transformation bandwagon over the past few years – particularly those in the financial services (FS) sector. However, whilst there is an appetite for it, and significant investment allocated to it, the FS sector in particular is still struggling to harness the potential of this ‘vogue’ approach. This is particularly true of the B2B organisations within the sector.
Digital transformation is actually relatively easy to instil into a business’ culture, but far too many organisations – particularly within FS, are over-complicating it.
The key to success is taking a step back and getting to grips with exactly what digital transformation looks like for your business.
At the core should be the customer – and their experience of your business. Indeed, almost every B2B business looking to implement a digital transformation strategy is looking to create a better customer experience that either moves customers through the sales process faster and/or builds the relationship between the brand and its customers.
B2B organisations understand this. Indeed, Forrester’s 2015 report revealed that “improving the experience of our customers” was the number one priority across the board for B2B marketers, closely followed by growing revenues and reducing costs. The challenge seems to be implementing the processes that will drive these changes.
This is unsurprising given the significantly longer sales cycles within B2B. The pace of change within organisations typically matches the sales cycle, meaning it takes longer for B2B organisations to implement transformational change. Therefore there is a clear need to act now to get the process of change started.
For me, the best option for any FS organisation is, quite simply, to put digital at the heart of the customer experience. Spanning not just technology, but people, and processes too, putting digital at the core of the customer experience can realign focus, and help find a common goal that meets the ever-changing needs of both the business and its customers.
Indeed, the FS businesses that will see the best results from digital transformation in 2016 and beyond, will be those that think like a start-up and behave like an entrepreneur. This doesn’t mean trying to replicate what others are doing – it means investing in a culture that helps their business excel. It means focusing on the customer and the experience.
For any FS company looking to maximise returns from digital transformation, here are three pieces of advice:
1. Focus on online and cross-channel customer experiences but don’t ignore traditional channels – digital transformation can still have a significant impact on offline channels too.
2. Advocate digital transformation and first-class customer experience from the top level down – everyone needs to be responsible for delivering a first-class experience so don’t make it one person’s responsibility and make sure that every ‘new recruit’ is on board. In order to remain ahead of the digital curve, banks and financial services must invest in the right people to develop and deliver the strategies and roadmaps that will bring about transformation. This doesn’t mean trying to find better versions of the people who you hired 10 years ago. It means taking a long hard look at the new skill sets you need. With the rapid pace of technological change, these are skill sets that the existing team may not understand, let alone have capabilities in, so it is pivotal to bring talent in to create a complete, complimentary team.
3. Take risks and learn continually – the whole process of digital transformation requires organisations to continue to evolve. The FS sector is one of the most traditional industries, making it difficult to be innovative, but this test and learn mentality is key to success. Taking the risk now will pay off much sooner than many think.
Digital transformation has the potential to have a massive impact on B2B FS companies because it helps them to re-align themselves with their customers and to be ongoing strategic partners. Customer expectations are continually evolving to higher standards, so it is imperative that B2B organisations work to exceed those expectations if they are to shore-up long-term returns.
Digital transformation offers an unrivalled opportunity for the FS sector to improve how it engages with and retains customers in the 21st century. The brands that invest in getting on board now will undoubtedly come of age and retain their place in the world; but those that don’t risk holding themselves back by years.
Drew Nicholson is CEO at OgilvyOne Business
NetNumber: Time for a cloud-native transformation
NetNumber is accelerating the transition in the telecom industry to 5G as it starts a shift to cloud-native architecture to address the fast-paced demands of global subscribers and businesses.
NetNumber is offering the industry’s first cloud-native platform designed to ensure InterGENerational™ network performance addresses both the legacy and next-generation requirements of telecom networks.
“NetNumber has developed the industry’s most robust cloud-native, InterGENerational platform that addresses both the legacy and 5G requirements of telcos,” said Matt Rosenberg, Chief Revenue Officer of NetNumber.
The platform provides vertical and horizontal scale-out with low latency, coupled with a suite of data replication capabilities, which provide flexible architectural options that can evolve with the changing network over time.
“Cloud-based solutions from other vendors tend to be limited in terms of supporting particular network generations or protocols. We’ve created our latest platform TITAN.IUM to allow customers to take any generation of applications, any generation of legacy services and protocols and move them into the new world of cloud-native architecture,” said Rosenberg.
“This is a really important part for a carrier to harmonise their network, bring data services together, bring legacy with new together in order to make a more effective and efficient network, as well as reduce their cost as they scale forward,” he said.
Established in 1999, NetNumber has fostered a strong team environment that leverages the industry’s best skills to offer software solutions tailored for carriers of all dimensions. Based outside of Boston and with presence in over 20 countries, the company delivers a range of products that address all generations (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G) of network functions in the core network, deep rooted security products and services, STIR/ SHAKEN and set of options around data services in more than 90 countries.
Steeped in experience in building telecom solutions, software, protocol stacks, and integration of third party tools, the company’s development organisation has proven to supply to the industry with the most reliable and flexible solutions on the market.
“At NetNumber, we focus on our core competencies – we are dedicated to providing industry expertise in signaling, routing, security, subscriber management and data services. We provide customers a strong ROI through platform-based solutions that reduce Capex and Opex in the long-term,” commented Rosenberg.
Five reasons why customers choose NetNumber:
- Expertise - NetNumber has experts with deep knowledge in signaling/routing, security, and subscriber database management.
- Integration - An industry-first platform brings together domain services, applications, security, and global data services.
- Scale - NetNumber has the ability to seamlessly increase network efficiency using vertical and horizontal scaling.
- Speed - World-class solutions have the power to help companies create new service offerings and accelerate time to ROI.
- Savings - Customers enjoy significant savings in capex and opex, flexible deployment models, and investment protection.
NetNumber and Virgin Mobile MEA
“We're very proud of our partnership with Virgin Mobile MEA as they've taken the concept of the InterGENerational platform into their regional network strategy,” commented Rosenberg. “That’s accelerated how they develop exceptional services across the Middle East and Africa region.
“We work with them hand-in-hand to deliver multiple applications onto our platform which has enabled them to provide exceptional, advanced and innovative services to their customers across the Middle East, who demand high quality services.
“What they've really taken advantage of is scale. What I mean by that is they are putting multiple generations of applications and services onto the same platform and distributing that data across their network. That has resulted in an advantageous position of time to market and operational savings.
“Rather than having different applications for many different vendors that cause operational chaos, they've been able to consolidate that and reduce their operating costs by having everything on one common architecture. We’ve had a long-term relationship with Virgin Mobile in Saudi Arabia, and recently signed an agreement with Virgin Mobile in Kuwait.”
Rosenberg says that with these solutions, Virgin Mobile MEA can take advantage of getting to the market much quicker and faster—which is what today’s discerning customer demands.