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Shifts in the banking industry landscape, occurring at an ever-increasing pace, have highlighted the need for resiliency and automation in digital transformation, especially in challenging times where business continuity is paramount.
Resiliency is the new normal
A degree of digital transformation has occurred in the banking industry, yet it appears that there will never be a resting point. The establishment of a "new normal", where responsiveness to external competitive demands, global events, and customer expectations highlights the need for continued resilience. The pace of technology changes and competition from traditional and new players overlaid with the consumerization of banking services, has led to expansion in the breadth of services offered, along with how and when they can be consumed.
Social distancing has prompted new realities in banking, with some aversion to access physical branch locations and interface through ATMs (with people reluctant to touch the machine and cash itself). Regardless of these challenges, the customer still demands uncompromised and enhanced capabilities, perceiving that services are always available and instantaneous.
Customers have an expectation of 24/7 access, and with devices of their own, are independent of location. Correspondingly, while still necessary in some instances, the decline of visits to branch locations has been supplanted by the digital experience - particularly in mobile - making the support and execution of this channel the primary driver of customer satisfaction and usage.
This transformation has placed organizations under greater pressure than ever to deliver higher-quality applications more often, to scale digital business - all while adhering to security and compliance regulations - exposing internal gaps in both engagement and integration capabilities. Furthermore, the emergence and adoption of remote work, coupled with increased digital banking, extends the security risk surface area and potential exposure to nefarious activity.
A faster, more agile, secure, and scalable implementation approach involving automation is crucial to creating frictionless experiences that can be more easily deployed, updated, and maintained–helping achieve the business priorities that are needed, and ones that customers demand.
Resiliency and automation - top of mind for good reason
While the business payoff is certainly a consideration for automation - fully integrating automation yields almost immediate results, often with a less than six month payoff period - the other contributions are equally, if not more valuable. Automation is an engine which catalyzes provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, and intra-service orchestration of data, tools and environments, for a wide range of use cases, and across on-premises, cloud, and edge environments. Automation allows banks to realize adaptability and become better equipped to meet customer demand, adjust to industry dynamics and world events, all while being more resilient - with scalable applications that deliver business innovation faster.
Areas that can be targeted for demonstrable improvements include the three Ps:
Platform - incorporate architecture and components with the potential to continually adapt and utilize updated technology. Simplify the control plane and reduce downtime so administrators have a simpler, yet more comprehensive enterprise view
Processes - orchestration and consistency in automated processes allows for more streamlined operations and reduction in isolated silos. Successes and best processes are shared, reducing the likelihood of miscommunication and delays by streamlining the change management process
People - with a constant competition for limited talent pool, automation and its associated freedoms and capabilities represents an opportunity to reskill teams with the tools they want to become proficient in. Additionally, automation technology mitigates the skills shortage, lessening the daily performance of routine tasks, affording the chance to develop and extend talent to prioritized projects across the business.
Security, one of the top priorities in the banking sector, can also be enhanced with automation. Throughout the stack, automation can assist with threat recognition, prioritization, and action, and it offers the capability to schedule associated remediation activities. Automation enforces the concept of remediation as a "maintenance"– proactive action instead of acting in crisis mode. Breaches are discovered more readily–possibly in an automated process–and the actions taken are accelerated.
The combination of AI/ML and orchestration also extends cyber resilience to all areas. Learnings are extracted and incorporated more rapidly, both from the promotional and consumption perspectives.
About the author
Alessandro Petroni leads the business and technology strategy to accelerate the adoption of Red Hat open source technologies in the FinServ/FinTech industry working with customers, technology and service partners across product management, engineering, marketing and sales.