Research finds connected planning can transform retail banking

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Financial institutions are having to jump a series of increasing hurdles in the race to stay ahead of their rivals—both large and small. Heightened regulation, a volatile macroeconomic climate, and digital disruption in the shape of advanced technology and agile start-ups have put numerous businesses on the back foot. This is borne out by a report, “The top financial services issues of 2017,” from professional services firm PWC—artificial intelligence, blockchain, Brexit, competition for non-traditional players, and the regulatory environment all featured in the top seven places.

These were some of the key issues raised at Anaplan’s European Financial Services Summit held on September 26. The event included speakers from some of Europe’s largest financial institutions such as RSA Group, Aviva, and Provident Financial Group. The overall consensus that emerged from discussions was that cloud-based connected planning could enable businesses to respond to challenges within the market by uniting data, people, and plans on a single platform.

A centerpiece for discussion was Anaplan’s recent report, conducted in partnership with FT Remark, titled: “Joining the dots: How connected planning will transform banking.” Here are the key findings from the report:

Clouds overhead: Banks face a new raft of challenges

Banks are facing a range of unprecedented challenges in their day-to-day business. Yet, one stands above all others—increasing customer expectations. Innovation technologies produced by agile start-ups have increased competition exponentially and challenged traditional business models. This has required retail banks to become more flexible and adaptive. Of the survey respondents, 80 percent rate changing customer demands as a significant challenge facing retail banks.

In addition, unexpected upheaval within the global political landscape has become the new normal. Against this backdrop, whether it’s the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU or the Trump administration’s plans to unwind financial regulations, banks have had to learn to adapt. This is reflected in the survey: 66 percent of respondents cite maintaining agility to respond to economic volatility as a major challenge (Click to tweet).

Multiple interfaces are another problem for banks, with 66 percent of respondents saying that their finance and risk architecture is somewhat or very siloed. Point solutions designed to tackle single problems have proliferated in response to increasingly complex banking regulations. This has resulted in an increasingly fragmented array of disconnected silo systems, making it difficult to align information company-wide.

Outlook overcast: Banks current planning processes are inadequate

The survey reveals that banks are failing to adequately respond to an increasingly complex regulatory environment. Over half (58 percent) of respondents say that they have not put digital measures in place to comply with financial services regulations in their planning processes. Meanwhile, 74 percent cite carrying out scenario-based modeling as the most challenging aspect in relation to new capital and liquidity regulations.

Another roadblock to successful planning is limited access to credible data, which in turn leads to inaccurate forecasts. Among survey respondents, 42 percent cite inaccurate or untimely data as the biggest challenge for developing scenario-based modeling.

The fact that banks are not using connected planning across the organization results in the common pitfalls of lower productivity and poor communication. The survey reveals that just over half (54 percent) of respondents only use cloud-based planning in certain functions and not across their whole organization, while 64 percent say that business plans are not visible across the entire organization.

A break in the clouds: Improved planning is a top priority for banks

The survey reveals that banks are taking measures to overcome the challenges mentioned. Indeed, 96 percent of respondents say they have plans to implement more cloud-based planning within the next three years, while 54 percent rate improving forward-looking planning as a very high priority in their business planning (Click to tweet).

One way that connected planning can achieve this is to integrate disconnected architecture, with 88 percent of survey respondents saying that the scale and complexity of legacy data is a factor preventing them from making greater use of cloud-based planning.

Survey responses show that banks urgently need to boost the agility of their planning processes. Utilizing a connected planning approach not only allows financial institutions to tackle new threats and meet accelerating regulatory demands with confidence, but also enables them to identify and seize emerging opportunities.

Those are just some of the key takeaways from “Joining the dots: How connected planning will transform banking.” How advanced is your digital journey? Are you putting customers first? Download the report and share your reactions in the comments below.

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Joining the dots: how connected planning will transform banking

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