A new normal demands technology. The pandemic has pushed banking institutions to achieve seven years' worth of digitisation in a matter of months. Going forward, this process will continue as financial institutions leverage technology to cope with a rapidly evolving remote subscriber base. Yet staff first have to know how to use these new technologies to guarantee the success of the enterprise.
So, what technologies should banks focus on to make sure they continue to flourish? How do they develop the skills needed to unlock its potential? An approach that puts 'learning on the job' at its heart may be the answer.
The technology horizon
The pace of technological change won't slow any time soon. In fact, it's more likely to accelerate as key stakeholders see the benefits of tech adoption first-hand and push to take them even further. During the pandemic, digitisation efforts were focused on enabling work and services to carry on despite the challenges and restrictions. The next step will be to leverage technology which makes these even more competitive and efficient.
As a result, the great cloud migration is certain to carry on. When data is centralised and available in the cloud, it becomes easier to manage and apply sophisticated analytics to. The output will be more immediate, personalised customer experiences, key at a time when customer interactions will stay digital-first or digital only.
There's also a growing regulatory imperative behind cloud adoption. Stricter regulations and changing technology require financial services organisations to create major changes in how they handle sensitive data. A cloud-based architecture provides them the speed and agility necessary for continual delivery and faster time for you to market, with the peace of mind knowing customer data is secure.
Financial institutions will similarly double down on their investment in artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. AI leaders in financial services already are achieving a fifth (19%) of companywide revenue growth thanks to their AI initiatives. By combining deep thinking and machine learning with powerful supercomputing, institutions can automate complex tasks and decision-making processes at each segment. More powerful virtual assistants are on the horizon for both staff and customers, boosting efficiency and serving a far more satisfying user experience.
It's also important to not overlook the potential of blockchain. While not a new technology, it will become more widespread outside of fintechs as traditional banks seek new methods to grow their profit-to-cost ratios. Blockchain transactions are transparent, highly secure and countless times cheaper than traditional transaction costs. As more financial institutions realise how blockchain can improve security, cut costs, and improve customer satisfaction, more will move adopt we've got the technology.
Learning in the flow of work
The power of the cloud, AI and blockchain can be transformative for a business in terms of output and efficiency. But it will sit inert unless a business possesses the skills and knowledge to leverage it. This can be a widespread concern – almost three-quarters (72%) of banking executives believe there is a moderate or significant skills gap threat to their goals.
Competition for talent is ferocious, meaning institutions can't aspire to plug the skills gap with new employees alone. As the tech stack evolves at record pace, organisations must find new ways to quickly and efficiently upskill their current workforce to allow them to better leverage the technologies they're investing in.
This will require taking a novel approach to learning and development. An estimated $130bn is spent on training programmes every year, with only 25% of it judged to become actually effective. Often, the issue is the poor quality of the set materials as well as their delivery, making it more difficult for workers to engage with.
A shift from designated, ad-hoc understanding how to active and organic development will yield better results. Learning and development leaders need to stop thinking about learning as a peripheral requirement for their employees. Using the pandemic already straining people both personally and professionally, asking employees to remain engaged with 'required' learning is definitely an outdated approach that just adds additional requirements along with already heightened workloads.
By contrast, the best training programmes recognise that learning is definitely an ongoing exercise. The objective would be to enable employees to learn at work and apply that learning straight to their work. Give them access to the new tools and technologies and then let them get their hands dirty. Allow staff to understand and grow in their daily routines by applying today's technologies to grow and perform in their everyday roles. Strive to create learning environments, rather than learning requirements.
The ubiquity of technology and the rate of technological advancement is different every job in today's world. It's not necessary to hire new people or have them take days off work to get up to speed. Instead, treat virtual learning as active learning within the flow of work. Pointed, immediate learning within the moment will allow people to instantly apply what they know and gain feedback organically because they go. This is key to mastering the technologies of tomorrow.