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The future of finance: Digital industrialization and beyond

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To keep pace with a changing landscape, leaders must embrace digital industrialization.

Digital expectations are rising. Financial consumers expect instant results, low or zero fees, and seamless digital experiences. Fintech disruptors have set a new standard for customer-centric services, and traditional financial services firms can't afford to stand still. Digital industrialization enables enterprise organizations to move faster and do more with smaller budgets—empowering them to tap into a wide range of digital platforms, tools, and technologies. 

The speed and scale of change means that financial services organizations and leaders have to move quickly. They must embrace industrialization and the opportunities it brings.

As Jared Johnson explains in our Building Future-Ready Financial Services guide, “you can’t afford to sit back while your industry transforms around you. You need to know which way the dial is moving. You need to understand all the components of a modern financial services company to successfully build one, and you need to be willing to embrace digital industrialization in every corner of your business.”

In this blog, we explore what’s driving digital industrialization and how financial services leaders can embrace it to spark impactful change.

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What is digital industrialization?

Digital industrialization is the integration of digital technologies, platforms, and data-driven strategies across every aspect of a business or industry. It involves using digital resources, tools, and technologies to accelerate digital transformation, drive innovation, and achieve faster outcomes. Digital industrialization enables organizations to move beyond traditional digital transformation and embrace a digital-first approach in every corner of their operations. 
What’s driving digital industrialization? 
Digital industrialization in the financial services industry is being accelerated by changing demographics and a shifting industry landscape. The rise of digital-native professionals—millennials and Gen Z—is seeing demand for digital and data capabilities rise, even in traditional sectors. Additionally, the accessibility of advanced AI products like ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Microsoft Copilot, is raising technology expectations among the general population. At the same time, constantly evolving cloud technology is opening doors for ambitious finservs to tap into scalable and cost-effective solutions.
Are you stuck in digital transformation? 
Many financial services companies find themselves stuck in a constant cycle of digital transformation without progressing towards digital industrialization. From drowning in large volumes of bespoke code, increasing technical debt, and failing to achieve anticipated returns on digital investment—it’s easy to get overwhelmed and bogged down in change processes and challenges. To break free from this cycle, finservs must establish robust data foundations and incorporate service design thinking into their approach. Service design thinking focuses on designing and improving services from the perspective of both users and staff. By visualizing an organization as frontstage (customer), backstage (staff), and behind-the-scenes (management) and emphasizing the connections between these areas, organizations can optimize operations and enhance customer experiences.

Building strong data foundations

Building strong data foundations is not only crucial for effective data management, but also for scaling AI sustainably and profitably. Without a solid foundation, organizations cannot fully embrace AI or machine learning (ML) use cases, including GenAI. While GenAI offers cost savings in areas like content creation, search, software development, and employee productivity, it cannot drive significant growth without a strong data foundation. Financial services leaders must prioritize robust data infrastructures, data quality standards, and data governance to unlock the full potential of AI.
The power of service design thinking 
Service design thinking is another essential in building future-ready financial service organizations. While building strong data foundations is crucial for scaling AI sustainably and profitably, service design thinking focuses on designing and improving services for both users and employees. By adopting service design principles, organizations can optimize their business operations, enhance customer experiences, and unlock the full potential of their data foundations. Service design thinking emphasizes the connections between frontstage (customer interactions), backstage (technical processes and staff), and behind-the-scenes (strategy and governance), enabling organizations to continuously refine and improve their service offerings. By incorporating service design thinking alongside robust data foundations, organizations can create innovative and user-centric service experiences that drive growth. 

What does digital industrialization look like in action? 

To start creating a digitally industrialized business, financial leaders must proactively modernize legacy systems, build strong data foundations, and operationalize customer experience at a global level. Unifying customer experiences will empower organizations to embed services into financial milestones and identify opportunities to deploy autonomous finance. Customer expectations are only going to rise when it comes to digitalized and autonomous products and services, so focusing on key aspects of industrialization now will set finservs up for future success. For most organizations, this means choosing a digital transformation partner with a deep understanding of both their industry and the industrialized tools and processes that will power their success. 

Learn more about the practical ways you can set your business up for digital industrialization success in our recent guide below.

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