As we look back at 2019, we have experienced a volatile year. From inverted rate curves to trade uncertainties, our economic outlook has been murky at best. With the support of tax cuts and a short-lived increase in fed funds rates, however, banks saw continued double-digit return on equity (ROE) and growth in assets year-over-year. In addition, consumer spending reached all-time highs, at peak levels since pre-crisis spend in 2007.
Looking ahead to 2020, there are still many unknowns: a 25 percent probability of recession, a U.S. election year, increased product competition, disruptive fin-tech market entrants and slowing global GDP growth, to name a few.
As they face these challenges beyond their control, banking executives must focus on what they can manage: finding new ways not just to serve their customers, but to excite them. The best place to start this journey is with technology enablement—laying the groundwork to deliver the rich, next-level experiences that customers expect today.
Why focus on digital transformation in 2020?
Still using your blackberry? Running over to Blockbuster tonight to grab a VHS tape? Didn’t think so. These are clear examples of industries that have been disrupted, and banking is no different. To stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing climate, being nimble is no longer a nice-to-have, but a necessity. It’s time to re-think digital transformation and set our sights on infrastructure flexibility.
As we move into 2020, creating an infrastructure that allows for swift, less costly change will be critical to bank performance. A flexible infrastructure will help banks quickly adopt technology innovations and capitalize on new market trends. Equally importantly, it will enable them to speedily shed those technologies that are no longer serving them well or are a strain on resources.
The good news is that many technologies coming on the market are designed to enable such flexibility through cloud-based cores and middleware. For example, MuleSoft gives your technology stack plug-and-play changeability, making it easier than ever to create an infrastructure that allows room for your technology strategy to stay agile and adaptable.
2020: The year for guts and glory
That’s not to say that digital transformation does not come with its challenges. If it were easy, everyone would do it. To succeed on this journey, it’s critical to be bold, seek buy-in from key stakeholders, and help your organization understand that restructuring its technology infrastructure for the future is a long term, possibly multi-year endeavor. With the right partner to help you break your project into digestible phases that deliver a minimum viable product and encourage momentum, it can be easier to gain the support of your executives and board.
Better technology = better data = better customer experience
Simply collecting customer information is no longer enough. Transforming your bank to create a streamlined flow of clean, comprehensive, reliable customer data is the true goal. Enriching and enabling customer interactions with powerful insights will help you deliver the seamless, effortless experiences today’s customers demand. When transactions are quick, easy and intelligent, instead of focusing on data validation, risk, and manual reviews and processes, you can focus on deeper customer understanding.
To this end, achieving an integrated, panoramic view of your customer through Salesforce Customer 360 Truth can transform the way you engage with clients. With a “single source of truth” at their fingertips, your bankers will be empowered to map out personalized, forward-looking financial plans for their customers—not only increasing retention, but attracting new clients and growing their books of business as well.
At the end of the day, it’s about people serving people
None of these goals can be achieved without the right people in place. Hiring and retaining the talent that will push boundaries, be customer-experience-obsessed, and drive innovation should be a top priority for all banks and credit unions. Such employees will be inspired by change and will take the initiative to enable technology adoption across your organization. Creating a culture of innovation can attract not only those workers already in the industry, but also those proactive ones looking to make a change and step into banking for the first time. Agile, ambitious employees create agile, ambitious solutions for customers—a win-win for all.
Despite the uncertainties we face in 2020, focusing on customer experience and enabling digital transformation is a sure bet. Not sure where to start? Banking digital transformation is what we do at Zennify. No matter where you are in your digital transformation journey, we can help.