Are banks just paying lip service to digital transformation? That's the question asked by Accenture in a new study which analyses the strategies of 53 banks across Europe.
According to the study, 86% of institutions include digital as part of their strategy, and 63% have established a “chief digital officer” — but only 37% have allocated budget specifically for digital transformation.
Accenture’s “European Financial Services Digital Readiness Report” found that - on a scale of one (basic level) to four (best practice) - major banks and insurers across UK, Italy, Germany, Spain and France scored an average of 3.15 for recognising the importance of digital as part of their strategy and only 2.10 for their progress in actually using digital solutions to streamline activities.
“Digital is universally embraced by financial institutions in Europe but inconsistently executed,” says Sushil Saluja, senior managing director of Accenture’s Financial Services group in Europe, Africa and Latin America. “This report, which provides a benchmark for digital readiness, tells a story of an industry that recognises the importance of digital as an instrument of change, but that has yet to find its footing for the level of transformation it needs to execute.”
According to the report, institutions that achieved a higher score in the analysis tended to have lower cost-income ratios, generate higher returns on equity and maintain higher average share prices.
Says Saluja: “No one country can boast being a digital leader in Europe. When viewed through a geographic lens, the research results indicate varying levels of digital maturity among banks and insurers within each of the five European countries included in the study.”
While UK firms talk the language of innovation, they underperform in the execution of digital strategies, the design of new products and services and digitalising their internal processes. Italian, Spanish and French banks fare better in customer-facing execution, while German banks are seen as clear laggards in embracing digital technologies.
Massimo Proverbio, senior manager director of Accenture’s banking practice in Europe, Africa and Latin America comments: “Top European financial services firms see digital as a key component of their growth strategies, and, in many cases have devised a partial plan on how to integrate digital activities into their businesses. But this often translates into a number of dispersed initiatives instead of a structured and holistic action plan to capture value from the digital market.”