How Digital Transformation Improves The Banking Workplace

Jesper Behr

Within financial institutions, there’s a significant focus on implementing technology to meet consumer needs. Providing features such as digital banking, digital customer engagement, and even mobile payment processing is a clear path to improving the consumer’s interactions.

However, it is even more vital that financial institutions embrace technology aimed at improving workforce conditions. In today’s banking world, it’s essential to implement technology behind the scenes.

What people, skills, and technology are necessary in the digital bank

Creating a digital bank means moving employees towards the use of data and streamlined, digital tools. What does a digital workplace mean for bank employees and the banking workplace as a whole?

Simplification and automation

A key change to a digital bank is implementation of more automation to simplify day-to-day tasks. Not only should customer interactions be digitized, but the whole end-to-end process should also be automated, eliminating monotonous mid- and back-office activities with very little value add. The overall mantra of the digital bank should be “the best back office is no back office.” Automation will streamline processes, greatly reducing the amount of time and cost required to handle standard transactions.

To become a digital bank, companies need to simplify their processes and utilize software that allows a high level of straight-through processing.

Even more important, by removing employees from trivial and mundane tasks, employees can become far more beneficial to the company by moving to higher-value tasks. They can contribute better skills and more resources when back-office processes are digitalized. It simply makes sense.

Put information closer to the customer

When mobile banking technology is in place, channel consistency becomes even more important. Customers will visit their bank less frequently, but when they do, bank employees need to know what information has been presented elsewhere.

For example, suppose the bank has launched a new campaign targeting first-time home buyers using mobile marketing. When the information is relayed through mobile means, everyone has instant access to it. That means a customer who comes in to cash a check can get a free interest rate consultation (after they have been shown how to cash in the check with their mobile device). Because bank employees have easy access to key data from the customer, they can promote and communicate consistently.

Digital bank employees need to have the most important customer-related information and analysis at hand all of the time. That’s not always as simplistic as it sounds. Continuously meeting consumer needs requires staff engagement.

Does digital limit productivity?

A common misconception in the world of digitalization is that moving to a digital network and connected workplace means employees will be more distracted. Will productivity drop because of all of this connectivity?

According to a Pew Research study, 46% of workers feel their productivity has increased, and only 7% feel it has dropped. In short, moving to a digital workplace does not limit productivity, and in many cases improves it, including in the digital banking sector.

Empowering employees by providing improved connectivity simply makes sense. It does not limit. It aids businesses in growing. And it opens the door for information sharing.

Workers are aging: Bank digital transformation alleviates concerns

By 2020, half of the workforce will be millennials. Within the banking industry, this will result in significant changes to onboarding new employees, and reduced reliance on a large employee workforce. With the older workforce moving on, banks must reconfigure the processes and training programs in place. Are more employees the best option? Is it better to implement technology to do the mundane tasks of employees? A move to technology reduces costs, improves accuracy, and streamlines efficiency.

The growth of contingent workforce in banks

These days more organizations are moving toward a contingent workforce—one that comprises freelancers and independent professionals—to reduce costs. As many as 41% of employers report that they have been moving toward a contingent workforce over the last five years, with many more investments expected. This trend increases the need for on-hand access to data and digital tools.

Reorganization is a constant in the financial industry, with banks purchasing other banks and bank leaders moving among financial institutions. Digitizing the workforce makes the reorganization process easier. Frequent changes must not limit the success of the company to grow and remain efficient. A digitalized workforce minimizes these risks while also enhancing the company’s overall ability to continuously grow and evolve.

Institutional investors must realize the value and benefit of a digital workforce. It decreases dependence on the traditional employee-employer relationship and offers customers the benefit of constant interaction. Investments in financial technology for employees saves banks money, provides better access to otherwise unreachable customer segments, and increases employee productivity. For these reasons, it cannot be ignored.

For more resources on this topic, check out SAP Digital Banking.

Jesper Behr

About Jesper Behr

Jesper is global head of commercial banking at SAP and is responsible for the commercial banking solution offering. He has over 25 years of experience in retail and commercial banking, working as project manager and enterprise architect. Jesper's main area of expertise is on how banks can simplify their business and how to use information technology to decrease complexity and costs.