Strategies, Best Practices and Thought Leadership

When High-Tech Soars Higher

In today’s business environment, terms such as “digital transformation,” “machine learning” and “blockchain” have achieved buzzword status and then some: high-tech lightning in a bottle, is more like it. And yet, there remains a disconnect between the technology financial institutions need to stay competitive and the trap of taking on new systems just for the sake of it.  

The allure of shiny new toys may be enough for somebut connecting consumer, operations or business pain pointto the proper technology creates true success on every level, from top performance to the bottom line. In other words: What is that lightning in a bottle supposed to strike anyway? And just how much of it do banks and credit unions need?  

Answers emerge the moment financial services organizations center their efforts on one priority: efficiency. Tech investments, after all, perhaps represent the most important decision any business will make.  

Go with the flowchart 

First, take stock of your overarching technology as though examining a flowchart. When viewed end to end, your technology picture may reveal deficiencies or gaps that only touch on select areas. Do you rely on legacy systems? Does your customer data still reside in silos, and thus weigh you down with redundant workflows? 

However the answers may turn out, zero in on one key driver: clarity. Adopting the most efficient technology solutions possible depends on taking time to examine your unique situationand learning your greatest opportunities to improve, expand and excel.  

It’s tempting to invest in new technology because everyone else is doing it, or out of the belief that wholesale change can solve all your problems in a flick of the digital switch. Yes, success can result from such investments, but it will be far more by chance than smart response to your unique situation, challenges and goals. 

 More gain, less pain 

So what comes next? In many ways, it’s what always comes first: the customer. With the financial world awash in talk of customer experience, technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain must eventually serve the purpose of turning customer pain points into “gain points” – yours and theirs.  

Consider the area of loan origination, for example. In the face of limitless questions on how to change or modify your LOS, keeping that customer-centric focus will reveal common sense answers. The Federal Reserve revealed in a recent small business credit survey that nearly half of loan applicants at small and large banks were dissatisfied with the long wait for a credit decisionas well as the difficulty of the loan process itself.  

Everyone loves paperwork, right? And not just your customers, mind you. How about your employees? 

Meanwhile, only 17 percent of applicants who used online lenders experienced a lengthy wait for a credit decision—and dissatisfaction levels fell to 26 percent. As you plan to invest in the right technology, these insights can ensure your new LOS addresses these issues and supports a more positive customer experience.   

This also illustrates “begin with the end in mind” strategy at its finest. Buying even the best technological tools, turning them on and hoping for the best simply can’t compare to starting with a “problem solved” scenario—and satisfied customer standing front and center. From that vantage point, the machine learning, data analytics and sophisticated tools your bank decides on can harmonize beautifully with your mission and goals.  

The buzzword that beats them all 

Done right, digital transformations, large or small, can prepare banks to not only do business today, but in the years to come—where the rate of change will only accelerate to unprecedented levels. If your legacy systems struggle to hang on and hang in today, imagine what life will be like in just a few short years, when AI, robocentric technologies, even faster ecommerce and microtargeted marketing become facts of life for everyone, every day.   

Let everyone else, then, repeat the buzzwords of today’s tech revolution as they fret over what to do next. Your courage to trade in the talk for action will add another buzzword to the financial services lexiconyour institution’s name 

 

Topics: Market Trends

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