The financial services industry is undergoing a period of accelerated change. Disruptive technologies, new market entrants, declines in customers’ brand loyalty, and an increasingly complex regulatory environment have necessitated innovative solutions for everything from back-office operations to customer-facing retail banking platforms.
These growing demands on financial services firms have pushed product-focused delivery to the center of organizational strategy, structure, and transformation. Now more than ever, companies are seeking to hasten the speed to market of new products and offerings through iteration and agility. The rules of the game have changed, and with them, the demands of traditional business analysts and project managers who now have the task of shifting their knowledge, skills, and capabilities better to drive the execution of their team’s vision.
Drivers of Change in the Financial Services Industry
Changing the Bank
Digitization and technological innovation have fundamentally reshaped the priorities of financial services firms. A 2020 study published by the Project Management Institute shows that 45 percent of financial services organizations have made technology investment a top priority as a means of increasing project success.
With this new focus, institutions have dramatically increased their dependence on complex technical solutions and automated business processes. Moreover, contemporary platforms are shifting the way clients, and customers interact with financial institutions, threatening a bevy of entrenched but outdated solutions.
A recent Capco survey of a dozen delivery-focused leaders confirmed this increasing trend in large-scale ‘Change the Bank’ responses among its clients, including:
- Transformation of customer-facing platforms and experiences
- Shifts from people-centric to digital-based business models
- Broad rationalization and consolidation of internal systems
- Unified data management solutions
- Systemic automation of processes
Organizational Agility and Need for Speed to Market
This evolving landscape has also sparked an increase in the demand for organizational agility. The same 2020 PMI study found that more than 40 percent of financial services organizations have made rapid organizational change and agility a high priority. The approach of such efforts is to employ a more product-centric operating model and encourage an iterative approach to change.
Adopting these behaviors and culture creates a leaner, more responsive organization that can fail fast, learn, and adapt to change factors as they arise. Organizations that adopt agility benefit from:
- Shorter development cycles and faster speed to market utilizing fewer resources
- Greater quality, with retrospective learnings and adjustments to delivery approaches in real-time
- Continuous measurement supporting ongoing identification and re-prioritization of work
Implications for Business Analysts and Project Managers
To remain relevant in this changing environment, delivery leaders must understand their new roles and how they best add value to the team. To a high degree, this is realized through both a keen understanding of newer delivery methods and more robust technical knowledge.
Knowledge of Modern Delivery Concepts
The IIBA cites the ability to drive organizational change in leading the broader application of agile principles as an essential competency for success in the digital world , and delivery leaders can facilitate these changes at both the product and organizational levels.
To support modern delivery execution at a product level, individuals should consider:
- Investing in delivery-focused training and professional certifications
- Leveraging tools designed to support these new processes and behaviors
- Transitioning existing initiatives to modern delivery models
To support modern delivery transformation at an organizational level, leaders should consider:
- Restructuring business units to reflect cross-functional work and encourage dynamism
- Reviewing available skillsets and identifying gaps that must be closed
- Implementing agile principles to portfolio management, budgeting, and resourcing
Instating robust training and communication programs, helping people take the transformational journey together
The Society for Human Resources Management has found rapidly changing technology to be the primary reason why professional positions like business analysts and project managers also require more tech-driven understanding and capabilities. Practitioners must take action to increase their technology quotient or the ability to learn new technologies and incorporate them into solutions. To effectively leverage technology, deliver value, and capitalize on future innovations, individuals should regularly invest time in understanding the technical components of the products they support, and alternative technologies offered in the market.
There is much that business analysts and project managers can – and must – do to keep up with trends in the changing financial services industry. Traditional project roles are falling by the wayside, while certified agile practitioners, product owners/managers, design thinking facilitators, and user story authors continue to see even greater demand. Ultimately, investment in skills and capabilities related to new delivery concepts and methods will provide a competitive edge at both the individual and organizational levels.
Practitioners must, therefore, proactively develop a vision for their careers and take an honest assessment of their most significant opportunities for professional development. Similarly, organizations seeking successful transformations must design and deliver learning and development plans that do the same. In doing so, they can achieve sustained change and competitiveness.
Are you having trouble figuring out how to jump-start your transformation? Reach out to Matthew Markham, Linda Graham, or Erik Johnson to learn more.
Want to learn more about Delivery@Capco? Click here.