Today’s financial services challenge: Balance creativity and technology
- Posted on April 18, 2023
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Remember the see-saw we all used to race across the playground to reach when we were kids? Find a friend of about the same size and weight, and you could ride up and down indefinitely. Pair with someone stronger or heavier and you could suddenly find yourself unexpectedly and uncomfortably airborne.
Balance was the key to a good time.
I’m seeing something similar today when I talk with my friends in the financial services industry. Too often they have taken one of a couple of possible digital transformation paths.
Whether they were operating an outdated legacy system or a collection of custom applications left over from past mergers or acquisitions, they may be focused on a technology-first deployment, but they’re not seeing the process improvements or productivity gains they were promised. Alternatively, they may have gone all in on the creative side of a prospective transformation, wooed by the “we could” possibilities inherent in today’s full-throated tech platforms – until they ran headlong into unexpected organizational or regulatory obstacles.
Whichever route they have chosen, it has left them as unbalanced as two kids of unequal weight on a see-saw.
I get it. Financial services, like healthcare, lives on innovation, but is also constrained by regulation and legacy. At Avanade X, I tell people we exist at the intersection of wild, crazy ideas and the ability to execute them in the enterprise. It is our job to find balance between the two. In the financial services sector, that means understanding and respecting institutional capabilities and regulatory boundaries while also creatively re-imagining the future of banking and financial services.
All together now
We do that by stepping outside the traditional technology track to engage all parts of the enterprise. We listen to as many points of view as possible at all levels to get people’s take on what’s working, what could be better and what needs to be fixed. We bring all parts of the organization together, from executive leadership, IT and security to employee groups and impacted partners. Once this combined team commits to a strong and equal partnership governed by mutual respect, we are ready to work through “what I wish we could do” to “what we should do” and “what we can do.”
I call this process “expand, contract and confirm.”
As a team we fully expand our vision, but then we pull ourselves back in to what is actually possible. We then confirm our direction and move to deployment. This approach allows us to build systems that solve actual on-the-ground problems, ones that are flexible and designed to grow with the organization.
It offers the organization, whether bank, insurance company, trading platform or other fintech enterprise, the ability to achieve that optimal balance between what we would like to do and what’s possible.
Financial services will always be an essential but challenging business sector, one governed by tight regulation, high customer expectations and a rapidly changing marketplace. But when our technology vision is balanced, there’s no more satisfying ride.