How financial services are learning to focus with Big Tech
By Pavlo Khropatyy, VP Global Head of Delivery at Intellias
Maintaining a strong focus on your core business is crucial in all fields, especially in finance. Whilst it used to be a closed-door club, finance has been opened through the power of technology. Organisations that used to struggle with outdated systems now have the potential to lean on IT departments to make their processes more efficient and meet the new demands of the market. In fact, these modern technological platforms form the foundation of numerous financial institutions.
Whilst this technology is indispensable for some more modern companies, traditional institutions remain shackled by their legacy systems and applications. To solve this, they need to build out a robust in-house IT organisation, however, this comes with the challenge of shifting their culture to a modernised approach. These companies need to rethink how they use their experts and their resources. This shift highlights the need to ensure their overall business strategy aligns with the employees working in the finance sector, as well as those in technology who are building the systems upon which these companies rely.
The divergence of organisational cultures
The main issue is the difference in cultures. Traditionally, technology professionals have been responsible for more forward-looking projects, attracting employees who are keen to work on new systems, tackle complex tasks, and engage with the latest in innovation. By attracting a group of these employees, a certain culture is created, one that is unified by the camaraderie that comes when collaborating with peers with shared values, promoting teamwork and knowledge sharing.
To facilitate this culture, companies like Intellias have introduced a ‘rotate me’ feature. This enables employees to easily switch between projects, creating a culture of continuous learning and diversifying the skillset of employees. Integrating this into the overall business strategy enables employees to easily assimilate into new projects, and to support each other’s knowledge bases particularly in complex areas.
Sadly, many financial institutions don’t actively combine technology with overall learning. They usually focus on the traditional business strategy of financial operations instead. This approach overlooks the need for technology and means that employees do not have the technological knowledge for the platforms that accompany their day-to-day workloads.
To address this, financial companies should strengthen their employees’ financial skills and instead let specialised tech firms to handle their advanced technological projects. This enables the employees trained in finance to focus and specialise on what they do best whilst enabling the creation and maintenance of specialised financial technology systems.
The tech vs finance conundrum
There are two different cultures at play: the innovative tech culture, and the traditional finance culture.
Big tech companies typically attract employees with the mindset of innovation and progression. With this culture formed, from the top down, these organisations typically invest directly into the learning of their employees and promote continuous learning and innovation into their wider business strategy.
Taking this employee wellbeing-first approach and training their employees to just focus on the technology and proactive projects often leads to the best results. However, in the finance industry, attempting to train employees to be experts in both finance and technology is tough. Attracting talent that can do both and cultivating this learning can lead to roadblocks, particularly when employees have split focuses.
Financial institutions can overcome these challenges by collaborating with Big Tech and outside service providers. This allows them to focus on their expertise in finance and business, without needing deep tech knowledge. By making this change, they can benefit from outside tech skills while investing their time into improving their main services and customer offerings.
Re-envisioning the tech-finance partnership
Looking back, the relationship between technology and finance needs rethinking. Instead of just adapting to technology, businesses can explore the benefits that come from embracing and investing in it as a core aspect of their strategy. For financial institutions looking to embrace this innovation, they must invest in the tech experts who are trained to enhance their systems and adjust their approaches accordingly. This enables their employees trained in finance to focus on the areas to which they are most skilled.
The importance of attending to these core tasks is clear. As the finance industry becomes further digitalised, and the complexities of unifying the traditional and the fringe emerge, understanding the power of technology is incredibly important. There’s a cultural difference between the innovative spirit of tech companies and the traditional approach of the finance industry. This difference should be exemplified by the employees involved and, as such, they should be trained to specialise differently.
By using outside tech expertise, financial companies can avoid being bogged down in technical details. This enables them to focus on their strengths in finance and serving customers. In the end, merging these different cultures and refocusing priorities will help to set the stage of a harmonious synergy between the finance and technology sectors today and moving forward.
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