Panning the main room of the recent CEB TowerGroup Conference in London I observed somewhat of a paradox in the financial services industry. Executives embracing the technological hurdles ahead of them and collaborating via social media through their journey. Forecasting the future of the industry and having the tenacity to partake in those innovations was not only the theme of this year’s presentations. It seemed to be an active undertaking of most attendees.
There is an unprecedented wave of technological change impacting the financial services space; a host of innovations such as Mobile Payments, Social Media, and Mobile Banking means more change in five years than we have seen in the past 25. Institutions are scrambling to prepare for this onslaught, though finding it especially difficult in this era of increased regulatory scrutiny.
Historically FSI’s lagged in their adoption of new innovations. You would never suspect that if you looked around the conference. An estimated 30% of participants tweeted their impressions and takeaways using the conference hashtag, #CEBTG12. Participants truly used social media as an integral component of engagement, which is exactly how executives need to approach the topic in the future. Social media can no longer be looked upon as a marketing ploy. Rather, it is another integral point of engagement with your customers.
There is one monumental wrinkle to how the technological wave is affecting the FS industry. Europe now faces a do-or-die scenario. Most institutions understand that economic conditions will get worse before they get better. In order to stay prosperous, it is vital to stay ahead of the curve. Embracing innovations such as mobile banking and social media will be key if they hope to thrive in this environment. European executives are coming to realize the industry will never go back to the way it was. The only way to succeed in this new setting will be to capitalize on these technological changes. Judging from the conference attendees, executives are on their way into daunting waters.