Strategies to Help Financial Firms Prepare to Navigate Digital Transformation
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3 Key Strategies to Help Financial Services Organizations Prepare to Navigate Digital Transformation

August 11, 2022

The demand for digital transformation in financial services has been growing for years — and it’s been accelerated by the pandemic and with increasing regulatory, security, and privacy requirements.

According to the 2021 Banking Experience Survey by Citizens Bank, 77% of consumers and 70% of businesses said the pandemic changed how they interact with their financial institution — and they want to keep it that way permanently.

While satisfying customers should always be a top priority, going digital is about much more. It’s also about optimizing the business from the inside out. After all, maintaining the status quo in your day-to-day internal operations with dated technology cannot deliver the superior digital-first experiences that customers (and top talent) want and deserve.

But just because organizations know something is important, it doesn’t mean they know how to make it a reality. And, according to Forbes, in many parts of the financial services industry, there’s still “a long, long way to go”.

Many financial organizations would like to modernize but are simply not prepared yet. In a recent Cornerstone survey of bank and credit union executives, nearly 70% of respondents said their institution’s current technology infrastructure was a barrier to digital transformation.

Shocking? Not entirely.

The truth is digital transformation is rarely quick or easy. This is especially true when the scope of change is as broad as it is in the world of finance. Historically, it’s been a highly physical industry: hard copy documents, in-person meetings, snail mail, wet signatures, and physical cash.

How can financial organizations prepare to navigate the extensive change required to operate competitively and deliver the superior digital experiences and value their customers want?

In this blog, we’ll share three key strategies to help financial services organizations identify and implement the digital tools they need to get to the next level — plus a powerful interactive resource for navigating change management within your team.

Strategy #1: Make it true cloud or bust

When it comes to staying competitive in the financial services industry, the cloud is no longer optional — It’s mission critical.

That’s because the benefits of the cloud are enormous. Cloud technology can help solve some of your financial institutions’ most pressing concerns, such as:

  • Attracting more business with modern, digital platforms to deliver exceptional customer experiences
  • Getting greater value and insight from data, analytics, and critical business information
  • Securely connecting and collaborating with employees, customers, and external vendors
  • Easily scaling systems up as demands increase during high-volume times, or back down when not needed
  • Ability to reach customers around the globe, anytime, anywhere

Significant to note is that the cloud empowers financial organizations to address these needs while reducing costs. That’s because true cloud solutions reduce the need for costly on-premises hardware and dedicated IT resources.

According to Alexandre Delen, executive director of Delen Private Bank, failure to innovate and take advantage of the cloud could spell doom for financial organizations.

But fortunately, research indicates that while moving to the cloud can be a slow process, the rewards are “fast and substantial” for everything from frontline users to your bottom line.

Keep in mind, however, that there are many cloud imposters. When you’re looking for innovative cloud solutions to replace your legacy on-premises systems, opt for platforms that are native to the cloud — not just repackaged to look like it.

Click here to learn the difference between hosted vs. cloud-based tools and why it matters.

Strategy #2: Don’t compromise on compliance

When it comes to digital transformation, some businesses have it easier than others. But for financial services organizations and other highly regulated industries, there are a few extra hoops to jump through.

Staying compliant with government regulations, security requirements, and other constraints can make the whole process of going digital more complex. But if you settle for tools that aren’t streamlined for compliance, you could be creating more work for yourself and your team, not less.

That’s why it’s so critical to find solutions from providers who understand the needs of regulated industries and can help your team stay compliant.

At NetDocuments, we have many clients in industries that require a high level of security and compliance with their document management system (DMS), such as government, higher education, medicine and pharmaceuticals, and financial services.

Thanks to the cloud and advanced, modern security capabilities, platforms like NetDocuments can offer pass-through compliance certificates and audits for rigorous security frameworks.

And that means you can have peace of mind that your organizations’ information is secure and compliant with industry regulations and data privacy laws.

Click here to learn how NetDocuments can help you meet (and exceed) your security and governance requirements.

Strategy #3: Ace your digital transformation strategy

Having the right tools is great — but if your team doesn’t use them, it doesn’t matter how great they promise to be.

And the unfortunate reality is that far too many teams never enjoy the full benefits of the technologies they invest in. Often, that’s because they don’t have a strong change management strategy in place to make implementation seamless and to help increase user adoption, which is critical for realizing the most return on your technology investment. As is often said, if you fail to plan, plan to fail.

What can you do to make sure you get it right? Here are a few high-level tips:

  • Get the right support from executives and other shareholders. Many times, the people who get tasked with finding new digital solutions for their teams aren’t actually software implementation experts. Find the right support from executives, cross-functional teams, and partners who are change management experts.
  • Prioritize collaboration and get buy-in. Make sure your team understands why you’re making the change — and how it’s going to make their lives easier. This enables everyone to work together towards the same goal instead of pushing and pulling in different directions.

For a deeper dive on how to maximize adoption when implementing a new DMS, check out our interactive white paper.

Digital Transformation: A Journey Worth Making

With the right technologies, organizations can dramatically improve efficiency, productivity, and service delivery.

After adopting NetDocuments as part of their cloud-first strategy, a top global accountancy firm has been able to improve their process for managing documents and email while enhancing security and compliance:

"NetDocuments has helped streamline work and increase productivity across the whole business," says the firm’s IT partner. "NetDocuments also keeps data protected across the organization, helping to comply with policies such as GDPR and other privacy regulations.”

But it’s not just about the now — investing in digital transformation has been a crucial part of future-proofing the accountancy firm.

"Enabling staff to access our documents from anywhere using their device of choice is becoming increasingly more important, especially as working practices continue to change," adds the IT partner. “We think this is crucial for employee productivity and satisfaction as we look to attract and retain the best talent."

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