Digital Transformation in the Financial Services Industry

Every year, Adobe con­ducts a sur­vey on dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion with 330 finan­cial ser­vices exec­u­tives around the world—mainly in North Amer­i­ca and EMEA. This year, at the 2016 Adobe Sum­mit EMEA, we’re releas­ing the full report.

As the sec­ond in a series, this report takes advan­tage of year-over- year com­par­isons, but is also very much con­cerned with new ideas, new trends, and new ques­tions. It also takes advan­tage of com­par­i­son data from oth­er cross-sec­tor reports pub­lished by Econ­sul­tan­cy.

Our respon­dents come from a vari­ety of com­pa­nies through­out the finan­cial ser­vices sec­tor: 86 per­cent are from invest­ment firms, insur­ance com­pa­nies and retail banks, and 52 per­cent are at the senior direc­tor lev­el or above.

Like last year, we asked these exec­u­tives to tell us where their com­pa­nies fall on their jour­neys toward dig­i­tal matu­ri­ty. What we found—as in pre­vi­ous years—is that that finan­cial ser­vices com­pa­nies are sig­nif­i­cant­ly behind many oth­er indus­tries. Most of their doc­u­ment process­es still take place on paper rather than dig­i­tal­ly, and much of their mar­ket­ing is still built on a tra­di­tion­al sales fun­nel mod­el, rather than on per­son­al­ized cus­tomer journeys.

With the nar­row excep­tion of invest­ment firms, a full 88 per­cent of these exec­u­tives describe their firms as only “halfway there,” or worse, on their paths to dig­i­tal maturity—almost exact­ly the same per­cent­age as in last year’s survey.

Mean­while, agile new play­ers con­tin­ue to dis­rupt the finan­cial ser­vices mar­ket­place. Com­pa­nies like Avant Cred­it and OnDeck are lever­ag­ing cus­tomer data to dri­ve engag­ing, adapt­able user expe­ri­ences, forc­ing the old banks and insur­ance com­pa­nies to find new ways of appeal­ing to younger cus­tomers. A full 55 per­cent of finan­cial ser­vices exec­u­tives say they feel threat­ened by an inabil­i­ty to appeal to these cus­tomers, while 41 per­cent fear a loss of mar­ket share to these new players.

How­ev­er, spend­ing on dig­i­tal engage­ment has risen sharply in 2016, with 56 per­cent of finan­cial ser­vices com­pa­nies increas­ing their 2016 bud­get, by an aver­age of 20 percent—and 28 per­cent of respon­ders we sur­veyed said that opti­miz­ing the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence is the sin­gle most excit­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty for their orga­ni­za­tions this year.

One year can make a real dif­fer­ence. Mar­keters in finan­cial ser­vices report feel­ing sig­nif­i­cant­ly more pres­sure from dis­rup­tive dig­i­tal forces than they did in 2015, and that’s refin­ing their views on what they’ve achieved so far and their pri­or­i­ties for tomorrow.