With a fintech revolution sweeping the financial services industry, more than half of bankers expect to be working with new digital partners in the next couple of years, according to a global survey from Accenture.
Of 316 bank executives polled by Accenture, 85% think that the pace of technology change will increase rapidly or at an unprecedented rate in their industry over the next three years.
This means that many respondents expect to build relationships with other firms as part of an ecosystem providing "life solutions"; 52% expect to be working with new digital partners within the industry in the next two years and 42% expect to be working with firms, such as Google and Apple, outside of their sector.
More than four-fifths of bank executives believe platforms will be the 'glue' that brings organisations together in the digital economy, and nearly half say that adopting a platform business model and engaging with digital partners are very critical to their success.
Alan McIntyre, senior managing director, head, Accenture Banking, says: "The massive volume of data and existing partnerships that banks already have in place today are assets that banks need to leverage to their advantage in creating new business models. Digital optimization of the traditional bank business model could add five percent to ROEs, but if customers start migrating to new platform-based services outside of the banking sector, increased profitability from a shrinking business will be scant comfort to shareholders."
The changing nature of the banking industry will also demand a different type of workforce, one focused on outcomes rather than processes, say respondents. More than three quarters agree that the workforce of the future will be structured more by projects than by job functions.
Nearly three-quarters think that a more fluid or ‘liquid workforce’ will improve innovation by introducing more diverse thinking and individuals to the process. This liquid workforce will include a mix of traditional employees, on-demand workers, crowd sourcing, application development companies and other external sources, enabling banks to scale talent up and down as needed for greater cost variability and efficiency.
Three quarters of bankers expect a large proportion of their workforce to shift from individuals with deep expertise in a particular area towards more flexible, multi-skilled generalists within three years.
"A flexible workforce with evolving skill sets will help banks keep up with the rapid pace of change while staying close to customers. However an agile and project-based workforce will also create many new management challenges for those used to a hierarchical model," says McIntyre.
The report also states that automation and artificial intelligence will become banks’ essential new co-worker. More than four-fifths of respondents also agree that the widespread use of AI provides a competitive advantage beyond cost cutting. Their top targets for more automation include: knowledge workers (91%), customer interaction (88%) and information technology tasks (90%).
Meanwhile, 84% of those surveyed agree that trust is the cornerstone of the digital economy, but 76% strongly agree that they are exposed to more risks today than they are equipped to handle as a digital business. More than four-fifths think that a lack of data security and ethical controls could exclude them from participating in other companies’ digital platforms and broader ecosystems.