Over the next three years, banking will be the number one industry most impacted by digital disruption, putting banks’ revenue at risk. Third party providers such as telcos and retailers, as well as non-traditional players like Google, Apple and Facebook, are extending banking services into non-banking digital ecosystems.

To compete on this level, banks will need to transform themselves through strategic and digital enablement into what Accenture Technology Vision for Banking 2016 calls an “everyday bank” – one that interacts with customers every day to meet their financial and non-financial needs. This means banks will begin to play a bigger role in customers’ lives before, during and after transactions.

How will they achieve this?

According to Accenture Technology Vision for Banking 2016, there are five emerging technology trends that are shaping the new business landscape:

  • the platform economy
  • digital trust
  • the liquid workforce
  • intelligent automation
  • predictable disruption

The first three of these trends will be particularly important for local banks to understand.

About 84 percent of platforms will be the glue that brings organisations together in the digital economy. The massive amounts of data that banks generate and collect can provide a springboard to create and exchange value across ecosystems, with banks playing different roles in a number of value networks simultaneously (e.g., as a platform provider or ecosystem collaborator).

South African banks should identify the roles they want to play within various ecosystems and begin to forge partnerships with a range of other non-financial services companies and start-ups. This will be vital to embrace disruptive growth and transformational change.

The liquid workforce of the digital age is one that is adaptable, change-ready and responsive. While banks are already using technology innovation to empower their workforce and to operate more effectively, they need more than the right technology.

To adapt faster and increase competiveness, banks will need to make their workforce agile and highly adaptable. This will mean a change in the business and workforce culture, baking skills development and diversity into teams, and employing new sourcing strategies to leverage a broader and global pool of on-demand skills to meet rapidly changing or evolving needs.

Digital trust is the final, but perhaps most important element, for local banks. Despite bankers’ acknowledgement of the importance of trust, banks face a digital trust paradox. While customers trust banks to hold their money and personal data, the Accenture Technology Vision for Banking 2016 report shows they are sceptical when it comes to banks giving the best service value and advice that benefits them. In addition, nearly 80 percent of bankers strongly agree that they are exposed to more risks as a digital business than they are equipped to handle. Banks will need to combine stronger ethics with tighter security to grow these vital customer relationships.

Banks should consider some of the rewards of successfully-implemented digital strategies:  Consider an increase in revenues of up to 55 percent and cost reductions of up to 30 percent! The real deal? Digital takes centre stage in this new banking era. To fully participate, South African banks need to act now.

Drawing on Accenture’s banking experience and assessment of some well-defined consumer-to-business (C2B) ecosystems, banks should also increase focus on partnering with Fintech start-ups and continue emphasis on removing friction from the customer journey.

For banks, this will be a multi-facetted journey of transformation—they will need to embed digital into the business, transform the bank’s culture, redefine the customer experience and re-invent their value proposition. They must embrace playing a range of new roles in a broader partner ecosystem in order to move effectively with the times.

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