A new Accenture study examined the digital readiness capabilities of European insurance companies and banks in four key areas:

  1. Plan a digital strategy by seeing digital as a key consumer/technology trend for their business; planning their strategies around digitalization and a dedicated budget; and acting to promote digitalization internally and externally.
  2. Make digital production and delivery by designing innovative products via digital technologies or approaches (open innovation); building products and services with the aid of digital technology; and running streamlined activities by using digital solutions like cloud, mobility, analytics.
  3. Sell to digital customers by engaging with them via digital means (social media, personalized offers); selling products and services through multiple on/offline channels; and serving customers by enabling digital secure self-services.
  4. Manage a digital corporate culture and operations by assessing digital/IT infrastructure and capabilities status (i.e. cyber-security); improving operating efficiency and effectiveness through digital deployment; and renewing resources via digital (crowdsourcing workforce, hire new talent).

The 27 insurers and 26 banks in five countries were showed promise ahead in their strategic thinking and the digital customer experience, but lacked strength in digital production and corporate culture.

Very few firms indicate plans to digitize the internal processes, which are key to lowering costs and increasing operating efficiency. Forty-seven percent of indexed firms in the Accenture study equip employees with internal social network and collaboration tools.

For European insurers and banks, it’s time to bring digital in-house - European firms that equip employees with internal social network and collaboration tools

Insurance companies have a stronger tendency to tackle both internal and external digitalization efforts, yet European financial services firms have thus far focused mostly on external initiatives aimed at customer interactions. The study found only one in four leverage big data analytics to evaluate employees’ performance:

For European insurers and banks, it’s time to bring digital in-house - European firms that leverage big data analytics

While major European banks and insurance companies appear ready to embrace digital as a potential solution for maintaining and shoring up both revenues and relevance, Accenture research demonstrates they will need to work a lot harder to close the gap between aspiration and application.

The organizations that are farthest down the road to becoming digital champions embrace transformation in all their activities, across the four core business areas: plan, make, sell, and manage. Digital transformers also have a mix of internal and external digital initiatives. Financial firms must digitalize their operations, from automating processes to improving current performance with digital tools and analytics.

The mandate is clear, the urgency is high, but the path forward looks fraught with obstacles and pitfalls. For financial services, the question is no longer why to go digital or how. It’s a matter of how quickly.

To learn more, register to download the report: European Financial Services Digital Readiness Report.

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