The top barriers financial institutions face in their race to digital transformation
Express Computer|April 2020
WHY ARE DIGITAL business transformations failing to deliver value? Low double digit percentage of IT leaders have seen sustained performance improvement from transformation efforts, and are successful at sustaining change

Financial institutions'staffs are too busy managing the third-party and first-party data and the associated tech complexity to implement the use cases they had in mind for the financial institutions’ digital business transformation.

If most resources are required just to stay upright, then financial institutions clearly need help in their transformation. Why don’t they get more help? When asking financial institution CIOs, the reasons in rank order are insufficient personnel, then digital skills, and funding, followed by fourth in the list, “unable to source needed digital capabilities from vendors or contractors”. This last one caught my attention since implementing these digital capabilities yet given item three on the list is the lack of funding this budget for vendors may be moot. The CIOs are first overcoming these barriers through stakeholder engagement. Way down on the list at the seventh place is engagement of consultants. I’d like to argue that this is a mistake. Self-serving, perhaps. But not just consultants to build digital capabilities, but also consultants to help foster cultural change.

I picked this image, imagining a financial services CIO keeping objects spinning in the air, while on a tightrope ‘crossing the chasm’—an allengrossing and nearimpossible task—to convey how this role does not currently allow for driving growth. While the resource barriers cited are significant, I believe the focus should be equally on the culture and mindset barriers to digital transformation.

Business culture blocking change

If your financial institution culture blocks change, start by asking 'why'. Evidently, humans do not like change. Surprise! Financial institutions have conservative cultures that reward consistency, predictability, and careful risk management. This has become a verb— “financial services on it”. This kind of culture is going to attract people that selfidentify with these qualities and want to be recognised and rewarded for them. People don’t change much, so this quality is a fixture of financial services.

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