Financial leaders struggle with technology

A study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, called The Challenge of Speed and sponsored by Ricoh Europe, says that only one in ten financial services leaders believe they can rapidly take advantage of new opportunities ahead or adapt to unexpected changes in the future. This is in contrast to the average of two in ten European business leaders from all industries. Alongside the need to juggle conflicting demands from consumers, regulators and shareholders, the speed at which they adapt to technology-led change and re-engineer critical processes is heightening the burden. The research reveals that across all industries, the finance sector is the least prepared when it comes to technology adoption.

There is clear confidence around developing new products and services quickly. Financial services leaders ranked it joint eighth out of ten from the areas most in need of rapid change.   However, the most crucial areas where financial services leaders stated they do need to rapidly change, over the next three years, are those that have already caused the industry some of its biggest headaches: adopting new technologies (first), attracting and retaining customers (second), and improving core business processes (third).  And while 54 percent said they have lots of ideas to tackle the future change, they admit that they lack the ability to execute their ideas well. This is higher than any other industry, where the average is 43 percent.

2014, 2015 and 2016 still appear to present a myriad of conflicting challenges for financial services in its race to change, says Carsten Bruhn, Executive Vice President of Ricoh Europe (pictured): “But by tackling the crucial areas highlighted, they can quickly turn the disadvantages to benefits. They can improve their responsiveness to client needs, be more effective and decrease exposure to risk."

Financial services is the industry closest to digital transformation and this study shows that it is using technology extensively to operate faster – more than in any other industry, he adds. "However, unconnected legacy systems continue to slow them down. There is an urgent need to further review technology assets and simplify core information and document processes.”