EVENT RECAP: Operations Technology Conference in the U.K.

June 26, 2016 by Lauren Yildirim

Last week, the Captricity team traveled to Marketforce’s Operations Technology in Financial Services Conference in London. Global innovators assembled to offer perspectives on meeting the needs of today’s financial services customer, examining issues from digital transformation to process automation, and providing tools for building customer-centric models in the space.

Session: Keeping Pace With Customer Demands: The Operational Challenge

About Stephanie: Stephanie Smith is Chief Operating Officer, UK for Allianz. A chartered mechanical engineer, Stephanie joined Allianz in 2009 from British Airways where she held a number of roles in the Commercial, Marketing and IT departments. She joined Allianz UK and has held roles in IT and Retail and was appointed to Chief Operating Officer in January 2016. (Source: Marketforce)

Strategies for the future
At the top of the presentation, Stephanie offered two compelling statistical anecdotes from Bain and Company: 1) the top 25 global banks and insurers, 90% say they want to become more customer-centric, and 2) 80% of companies surveyed by Bain felt that they provided an exceptional experience, and yet only 8% of customers shared that view. To close that distant gap between the leadership view and the customer experience, Stephanie asserted that insurers must become “fast followers” when it comes to innovation.

The most successful innovator will have the right culture and agile systems to meet the demands of continual change. The right culture is customer-centric, and that focus must come from the company’s highest level of leadership. Additionally, employees should be empowered to be advocates for the company. This approach is being used successfully at Allianz to help improve their customer service.

Despite operating within the industry’s cultural tradition of hierarchy and product-centricity, Allianz employees would prefer the company’s culture to be more customer-centric and entrepreneurial. To that end, company leadership encourages their employees to act as advocates and behave as real customers, giving detailed feedback on products and services.

Systems agility and moving forward
Financial services firms should focus on adopting proactive operations strategies, making existing systems “future proof” and ensuring that they are agile enough to respond to constant change.

This “agility by design” strategy has three basic components:

  1. Service-enable your systems. The existing functionality available to new systems is quicker and more cost effective than rebuilding.
  2. Build new functionality as loosely coupled services to increase speed and flexibility of delivery while reducing dependency over time.
  3. Use flexible user interface technologies. It’s faster to “mash up” in the user interface than build into an application.

And lastly, Stephanie recommends that firms partner with experts, and not try to build everything themselves.

Session: Using Automation to Gain an Operational Edge

About Carl: In his current role as Head of Strategic Planning and Development, Carl is responsible for creating the high-level strategic vision and transformation roadmap for Barclay’s Community Banking. He has a passion for innovative design, centered around customer needs and behaviors that integrate technology, processes and people. (Source: Marketforce)

Digital technology and the human touch
Automated processes will save businesses money and drive operational efficiency, and yet financial services firms are behind the curve in terms of adopting automation. Carl presented a case study of global giant Barclays, illustrating how automation is improving their operational effectiveness, and how other financial services companies can follow their lead. The initiative was so successful that Barclays rebranded their efforts to the public as “Smarter Human Banking”

Barclays boasts 16 million customers who do 60 million transactions and 90 million
digital logins every month. The firm’s diverse customer base is their biggest challenge and greatest opportunity; they realized early on that their technology must be accessible to all of their customers. The company started their tech transformation journey by conducting extensive research into customer behavior to learn how they interact with technology in their daily lives.

The foundation of their automation philosophy is three-pronged: build on what is familiar, help customers take control, and reassure with ready expertise. “Start out with the customer in mind, not the technological solution,” Carl recommended. “Identify what the human needs of the customer are and how you make technology work to meet those needs.”

Here are the seven lessons they learned:

  • The technology just has to work and be easy to use from a customer perspective
  • The small details make a big difference
  • Customer behavior is not always rational, but it is predictable 
  • People are more likely to use self-service if they perceive they will be negatively judged by the person serving them
  • Customers trust their banker more than they trust themselves; they look at bankers as experts and value their advice 
  • People are prepared to wait five times longer to see a person than they are to use a machine
  • Sometimes simple is better; many customers need simple or low-tech solutions

Captricity’s revolutionary mission is to provide accurate, secure and fast access to the customer data that makes innovation possible. To find out why 50% of the top insurers in the U.S. are innovating with Captricity, go here.

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