Banking in the future will be invisible, connected, insights driven, and purposeful — and keeping pace will require rapid transformation. Leading banks harness success from their digital transformation, while others struggle to execute a coherent strategy.
Empowered digital consumers continue to increase their demands, making customer experience (CX) a critical success factor in banking. Business models are shifting, too, with open banking and open finance promising to reshape financial services over the coming decade. To navigate these forces, banks must pivot towards an ecosystem-based operating model with strong, trusted partnerships.
In June 2021, Sopra Steria commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate banks’ strategic focus and future-readiness in digital banking and ecosystems. To explore this topic, Forrester conducted an online survey with 760 decision-makers at banks globally and conducted 10 interviews with decision-makers at companies partnering with banks to enrich or offer new products/services, provide distribution channels, or increase reach of target customers.
Few banks are ready to embrace the ecosystem-based operating model required in the era of open finance. In the era of open finance, an ecosystem-led approach is critical to success for banks. Our future readiness assessment revealed that only 12 percent of respondents believed their banks are future-ready with a clear vision and the ability to collaborate with ecosystem partners. These leaders, which we will refer to as Pioneers, have a clear future vision for their banks’ operating models, have mastered digital operations and CX, and have prioritized, invested in, and nurtured ecosystem partners.
Challenges around security, integration, and collaboration hold back digital transformation and ecosystem efforts. Against a backdrop of faster change, regulatory compliance, and budget pressure, the top challenges that banks struggle with — both in their digital banking and their ecosystem ambitions — remain familiar. The most common challenges respondents reported center around ensuring data security and cybersecurity, along with integrating data, systems, and processes internally and across external ecosystem networks. Rigid cultures also prevent balanced collaboration with ecosystem partners.
Banks seek vendors that can help mature digital capabilities and provide expertise on strategy and CX. Respondents noted that their banks recognize that they can’t do it all on their own and plan to engage vendors for support with maturing their future digital capabilities, integrating with ecosystem partners, and embracing emerging technologies, such as 5G networking or quantum computing. They seek vendors that can provide valuable expertise on strategy and CX, as well as help augment technology capabilities.
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