In the age of digital transformation and disruption, being an expert in one subject is not sufficient. As highlighted by the Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (IBF), being adaptable is key to withstand the evolving digital changes in the financial industry. Here are the six future enabled skills that will be highly sought after in the near future.
- Understand the application of new technologies
Digital awareness is important in the evolving industry especially with the rising competition from FinTechs that are equipped with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. According to PwC, robotics and artificial intelligence have increasingly taken on a high number of value functions in areas such as trading, underwriting and financial advice. Other technological advances such as peer-to-peer lending, digital payment methods and currencies have also become prevalent in recent times. As a result, banks are facing increasing pressures to innovate and provide such digital services to remain competitive amidst the rise of digital natives (Google and Amazon). The shift towards new technologies would mean that the demand for digital-related skills will be high. Experience in emerging technologies, digital marketing and design would be needed to drive new ideas while training would be essential to help the current workforce adapt.
- Applying data analytics to decision making
Apart from understanding how digital capabilities can affect financial services, the use of data derived from such capabilities would be essential to sustain the business. As customers continually engage with financial institutions through digital channels, a large amount of data would be accumulated. As such, understanding how to apply and incorporate data analytics into decision making will enable financial institutions to provide better services in the long run. In fact, Mckinsey notes that using data in marketing decisions can increase marketing productivity by 15-20%. In the digital environment, data analytics will be a key enabler for financial institutions to provide targeted services and build stronger customer relationships.
- Skilled at human-centered design
Customers engage with the digital on a daily basis. In order for financial institutions to remain relevant and sustain their engagement with customers, innovation should not come at the expense of user experience. EY notes that more than half of digitally active customers have used digital payment platforms and money transfers. In a global consumer banking survey by EY, 62% of customers noted the importance of a consistent and seamless experience in their interactions with a bank. Evidently, banks need to be able to adopt a customer-centric approach to innovation to prevent customer acquisition from nontraditional players, that promise a better experience.
- Agile Thinking
An agile organization is one that is able to quickly adapt and transform itself to move in the desired direction in the most optimal way. In such organizations, individuals are empowered to make decisions and are largely well rounded in different areas. In a Version One survey, 85% saw an increase in team productivity after practicing agile. Agile thinking has also increasingly become part of many organization’s cultures that comprises of a mix of knowledge and expertise. Individuals who are open-minded and adaptable will be highly valued in the digital age.
- Engage customers effectively through omnichannels
Digital channels are the preferred ways financial institutions interact with and engage customers. With the myriad types of options for customers to browse and purchase, failure in optimizing digital channels may result in underperformance. Mckinsey notes that one major bank unlocked more than $300 million in additional margins by maximizing the use of digital channels. The use of social media marketing to promote brand loyalty has increased by 31%. Omnichannel customer experience is effective in increasing sales by more than 25% in a regional bank. As such, activating the different touchpoints of the customer journey through digital channels will require talents who are digitally skilled.
- Understand and manage risks in the digital world
As financial institutions go through the digital transformation, new kinds of risks emerge, such as cybercrime, data loss and third-party risks. Apart from the emerging risks, compliance issues will be intensified, resulting in larger fines. With tighter regulatory requirements such as technology laws, financial institutions would need to have effective risk management frameworks that will safeguard the interests of stakeholders and employees. As risk and compliance functions evolve from gatekeepers to partners in the innovation process, new types of skills will be needed to establish better controls and to safeguard the process.
In conclusion, protecting people is key in the process of digital transformation. As individuals are slowly replaced by automation, re-skilling will be crucial to motivate and increase the willingness to innovate.