The PricewaterhouseCoopers 22nd annual Global CEO Survey included insights from 3,200 CEOs to look at specific industry trends and provide strategic recommendations for the future. For banking and capital markets (BCM), investments in technology continue to grow, but that alone can’t keep up with the even faster changing expectations of customers.
Per the report, “More than just lowering costs, CEOs are counting on technology to deliver more seamless interactions with customers, valuable new insights about their brands and markets, and more tailored and targeted products and services.”
In the near term, customers expect seamless, omni-channel experiences, while also not wanting to give up the human touch required to create trust. It’s not surprising that nearly 80% of BCM CEOs cited skills shortage as a challenge to growth. The ability to meet the new ‘normal’ for customers means collaboration between people and machines, not the elimination of people by machines.
The report speaks to the need for interplay between technology and humanity. Innovation can only come from humans. Supported with artificial intelligence (AI) for automation of routine interactions, human skills like leadership, empathy, and creativity become differentiating business drivers. The report calls out five considerations for successful transformation.
Leaders need humanity as well as tech savviness
Automation can free up staff to provide strategic services to more customers. Now smaller customers can receive the same ‘personal touch’ that larger clients are accustomed to. However, according to the report, “A new type of leader is needed: techsavvy humanists who understand the potential of new technologies and how they can be knitted together to align with strategic objectives, whilst recognising that organisations are run by people, for people.”
People are needed to provide reassurance and trust
While technology has created a new level of expectations, in the BCM market, personal relationships are still important. Automation should handle routine interactions freeing up staff to better work with customers on more complex transactions. Additionally, the more technology is incorporated into the customer experience, the more BCM firms need to be prepared to show transparency in order to maintain trust.
Think about tasks and capabilities, not numbers
Automation does not eliminate jobs in the way naysayers will call out. In fact, automation typically creates more jobs. In the BCM firms, automation tends to affect pieces of jobs. According to the report, “This highlights the need for a systematic breakdown of the key tasks and capabilities required to meet customer expectations, as well as a need to develop new business models around this breakdown.”
Take your workforce with you
Change creates anxiety, fear, and insecurity. Taking a proactive, honest, and frank approach can reduce the resistance typically seen in change management initiatives. Provide context for how you see AI and related technologies augmenting roles rather than replacing them, and the opportunities to do more meaningful work.
Look inside and out
More than half of the BCM CEOs stated that it is harder to hire today. With the new skill sets required, many of the best prospects will come from outside of the industry. Unfortunately, few CEOs believe this is the best route to address the skills gap. Hiring people without industry experience sets off alarm bells for regulators, “about allowing people with no BCM experience to take up authorised roles within the industry.” Until this dichotomy is addressed, the skills shortage will continue to affect BCM firms.
“AI and machine learning are revolutionising customer intelligence and experience within both corporate and retail banking. Yet it’s people who drive transformation and derive the value. Setting the pace demands a clear understanding of what kind of skills and culture offer foundations for success, as well as an understanding of how your company can harness these necessary capabilities. You must also ensure that customers have the confidence and trust to engage with you on a new level. The most successful strategies will cut across technology, data and humanity.”
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