Change: The differentiating factor in Financial Services today

As the deadlines for MIFID II and GDPR draw closer, it’s a good time to take stock and reflect on the last 18 months. You wouldn’t have to be standing very far from the city skyline to notice the sector is undergoing an unprecedented period of change.

The impact of regulation alongside the ongoing replacement of legacy systems has been on the top of the agenda for Financial Services organisations. A project professional in the sector, would be lucky to have made it through 2017 without confronting one or both of these subjects. The coupling of the two has proved to be a good opportunity to strengthen business cases for what were previously lower priority projects on digital transformation agendas, regulatory alignment and improved data quality. As a result, project teams have had an exponential increase in work and demand.

With a market all focused on the same agenda and project professionals in short supply, finding talent is incredibly expensive and retaining them is even more difficult than before. Commonly resources are being pulled across from operational departments to fulfil project roles. This often proves to be a short-term fix as a shortage in project capability creates work further down the line. A knock on effect of this is a progressive chipping away of good governance, control and ways of working that results in an increase in management overhead and poor visibility. The impact of change is wide scale and doesn’t stop in the project teams as business functions too are seeing the symptoms of change fatigue.

These challenges in the change agenda also leave few resources and capability to innovate in a market where FinTech innovators, that aren’t hamstrung by expensive legacy infrastructure, are at an advantage to create disruption. They are therefore able to get ahead in the race for a customer centered service offering that could look to make a greater foothold in the market, particularly where consumers expect digital normalisation and mobile services that are seemingly simple compared to that offered in other sectors such as retail.

With this in mind, you could argue that change capability is the differentiating factor in the market today. Therefore, it is vital now, more than ever, for financial services organisations to consider ways in which they can meet the challenges and stay ahead of their market competitors.  A key approach by many forward thinking organisations is to invest in developing organisational change and project delivery by partnering with organisations who specialise in complex transformation and building capability.

By investing in change and project delivery, organisations solidify key project success factors that enables change that not only delivers efficiency, but also change that sticks. As a result, leadership teams are given the visibility from the bottom up and the ability to make informed decisions. Most importantly, productivity increases as trust gives autonomy a platform for success in an aligned project organisation.


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