Digital transformation means different things to different people within financial services. For sell-side capital markets firms, core objectives often include “electronifying” and automating appropriate processes within their client-facing businesses. In the trading world, for example, this means investing in technology solutions to provide high-quality electronic offerings to lower-touch clients enabling sales teams to focus on higher-value tasks.
With the proliferation of remote working, and fewer in-person interactions persisting in the long-term, the expectations of these technology offerings have peaked. Clients of these firms have become more comfortable interacting electronically out of necessity since the pandemic. In addition, they now expect a consumer product-level quality of user experience design from the applications they use at work. Capital markets is an industry that has traditionally leaned heavily on personal relationships, so this is a significant mindset shift to incorporate technology offerings into the service offerings. Add to this the fast-changing face of the front office workforce - it's getting younger - and the expectations of how technology should perform have increased significantly in the past decade, accelerated by recent global events.
Capital markets firms will continue to seek out opportunities to broaden their services offerings via electronic platforms. They will continue this through relatively straightforward automation, or "electronification", of existing manual processes, for example, voice-based trading. Or, more innovatively, they will seek out new market opportunities and areas to differentiate that were previously untapped. These opportunities could be large initiatives such as creating revenue streams via new electronic trading venues for new or existing asset classes or something that takes advantage of improved technology offerings, such as providing ease of access to real-time analytics on mobile devices via the cloud.
Embracing the value technological innovation can create is key to succeeding as a modern salesperson, even in a relationship-driven world. Gone are the days when you can “forget” to enter contact details or a call report into the CRM because it’s hard to use or access. While still valuable, you can’t simply rely on your well-established relationships to prove your worth. Quality data is king and utilizing its power via intelligent insights is vital to staying ahead. Sales teams need to quickly identify opportunities to update their service offering for clients to better reflect their needs, and these insights are vital to differentiate the signal from the noise as we all attempt to drink from the firehose of data.
Enabling teams with technology solutions that have an intuitive user experience so they can self-learn is core to a firm extracting maximum value from their investments. If a new application requires in person training or lengthy documentation to use, it is unlikely to succeed or provide the desired return on investment. Firms also need to provide their staff with solutions that have a consistent design and user experience to aid this rapid learning. Smoothly migrating from legacy to modern technology stacks is also an important capability for these firms to learn. Firms should be utilizing cost-efficient tools such as open-source technologies to accelerate these initiatives and provide commoditized foundations on which to develop differentiating solutions.
Chief Strategy Officer,
Adaptive Financial Consulting