What does reinventing financial services look like?

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The word “reinvent” is something you hear all the time. Reinvent yourself. Don’t reinvent the wheel. But what does reinvention really look like? The word reinvent means to change something until it is entirely new. It is nothing less than a complete transformation.

This concept of reinvention was the topic of the recent FSM annual flagship event — “Reinventing Financial Services: Leading the Future-Ready Enterprise.” Hosted by IBM, American Banker and Digital Insurance, this forum gathered clients, industry experts and IBM leaders to discuss the biggest challenges facing banking, financial markets and insurance. This year’s event focused on four main areas involved in reinventing financial services: building a future-ready enterprise, client centricity, talent reinvention, and how to get started. A follow-up event webinar hosted by American Banker Editor-at-Large, Penny Crosman and former IBM iX global leader Robert Schwartz, dives further into the topic of reinvention and shares important clips from the speakers about these areas of focus.

The first topic discussed involves defining our terms: What is a future-ready enterprise? To understand the nature of a future-ready enterprise, you need to first realize that there is a cost associated with not changing, not growing and just maintaining the status quo for any business — regardless of industry. Inaction and action both cost something! A future-ready enterprise understands action as a move in the direction from where they are to where they will exist as a future-ready enterprise. That action can be realized as the simple task of making the commitment to put aside money now for innovation and technology. Or that action could involve hiring and attaining today the technology needed to innovate tomorrow. Most importantly, a future-ready enterprise understands the driving need for collaboration in a platform economy. While the last few years have been focused around the customer winning and how to better serve the customer, the focus is also now on the ecosystem winning and the value proposition behind that. A future-ready enterprise understands and accepts both action and collaboration — and fully realizes the key importance of both.

The next area of focus — building client centricity — is also an essential principle of how to grow a business responsibly over time. With all the disruption in financial services currently, one of the best ways to survive is to remain focused on the customers: What are their requirements? What are their issues? By maintaining this focus, a company looking to build for the future will be able to use what it knows about its customers to guide investment decisions and its strategy for reinvention.

Companies using their proprietary data and combining it with technologies like AI are learning things about their customers that they didn’t know before. They are then taking advantage of this information to better understand their business model and ensure it is aligned properly with their customers. A client-centric enterprise seeks to understand the customer, but also strives to predict what the company and its customers will need to grow.

The third area of focus for reinvention is on talent. Simply put, the reinvention of talent is everyone’s job. This means attracting, recruiting and building the right pool of talent isn’t just a human resources challenge anymore; it is a company-wide challenge. Today’s employees are after more than just a job. They are interviewing the company as well as being interviewed by the company. Potential employees want to know what the company will be creating, what will its impact be and how will this job affect their planned career trajectory? To attract new talent, companies are having to get creative with cutting-edge practices like agile methodology and work environments that facilitate originality. Companies are also having to look for new ways to use their existing talent. Maybe this individual is good here but could be more productive there — that’s not an HR observation, but a managerial one. Companies also need to understand that automation is replacing employees, creations like chatbots, but that the employee can be retooled with new skills for another purpose the company needs. But companies must start thinking about it. Like customer-centric focus, it’s also very important for future-ready enterprises to understand their other greatest resource — their employees — before and after they hire them.

So how do you put all these ideas together to spur on reinvention? Where do you get started? No one said reinvention was an overnight task or an easy one. Starting where it makes the most business sense strategically and then really picking your spots for reinvention, are going to be big keys to its success. Also, no one is alone in reinvention. Many companies are going through this same transition — and partnering and collaboration are going to become even more important for reinvention journeys. A future-ready enterprise understands that every day the cost of reinvention is going up and these enterprises are beginning to reinvent themselves accordingly.

Watch the webinar to learn more details about how companies are building and preparing for the future. To share in the full experience of this major FSM event, a full playlist of sessions is available to watch.

Content Marketing Leader, Financial Services - North America

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