16 May 2023
Today, the only constant in the Asia Pacific’s financial services market is constant evolution. The hypercompetitive landscape is keeping providers on their toes, especially in terms of driving digital customer experience and satisfaction. In Singapore for instance, a Finder.com survey reveals that 21 percent of adults in the country have a digital bank account, with that figure expected to jump to 30 percent by year-end. For traditional financial services players, staying relevant in the age of changing consumer behaviour and digital-native new entrants to the market can seem daunting. However, striving to understand your customers deeply can turn the tables and provide new impetus to stay relevant.
The substance of financial services providers’ relationship with their customers remains trust, ease of use and personalised, nuanced offerings. However, what has changed, is how they interact through the new channels opened up by digital banking. The fact is that banks actually sit on a veritable gold mine, by way of the sheer volume of data they sit on. This offers real avenues to tailor services and generate added value, but rests on data being managed strategically, handled securely, interpreted correctly, and finally used to execute fresh offerings.
Converting Challenges into Opportunities
While financial services have been striving to improve processes in a bid to comply with a changing regulatory landscape, the need to increase customer value should now likewise be central in efforts to refine workflows. Big Data is key to this, and its growth has led to an explosion of opportunities for the industry to deepen their knowledge of target audiences. Containing information on preferences, needs, and buying patterns, Big Data can be leveraged to deliver new digital products and services tailored to customers at the point of need.
To meet these ever-growing demands, the approach must be to move away from target group management in favour of targeted expectation management. This hinges on holistically managing all information at the business’ fingertips, with a unique approach that integrates state-of-the-art methodologies and technologies. Financial service providers that implement modern tech stacks will be in a position to leverage data analytics from datasets and gain a more comprehensive understanding of their customers.
But while digital transformation grows apace, data-centricity remains a challenge. An EY report notes that though data and analytics constitute the second-highest investment area for the region’s financial services industry, a mere 8 percent describe themselves as data-centric.
The Importance of Generating Continuous Value
For the typical financial services executive across Asia Pacific, the importance of Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) is not uncharted waters. Customers’ financial needs change and evolve over the span of their lives. The imperative for providers is to meet these needs better and faster than competitors. But meeting these continuously changing needs quickly, responsively, and helpfully is an entirely different kettle of fish.
The first step, really, is to recognise that obtaining a full and rich view of their customers provides pathways to deliver the desired services quickly. Then, to realise the added value for their customers and themselves, providers need to create an ecosystem that enables close collabration and seamless data sharing across all departments. This is critical to catering for the operational and analytical mapping needed to solve the complexities around customer processes. To start with, businesses need to review their technology stack; investing in modern CRM systems is one thing, but process management and application integration should not be sidelined. Failing to account for integration can result in an environment fraught with disparate applications unable to work at its optimal level.
Here is where an integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) offers financial services players the ability to glue together the different departments and systems and bring together the organisation’s applications and data sources.
Modernize and Innovate with Integration
With an iPaaS, financial services providers can easily and quickly build interoperability across legacy environments and cloud applications. The boost in flexibility will position the business to meet even the most acute challenges. Through a cloud-native integration platform, financial services institutions can unify data for analysing profitability, managing risk, and providing exceptional customer service. At the same time, this will allow legacy infrastructure to be modernised.
The value of this was noted by an EY report, which found that, out of all sectors in Asia Pacific, financial services struggles the most with migrating legacy architecture and integrating multiple systems. This fact offers those quick enough to leverage iPaaS to differentiate by stitching together new and old systems at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional integration.
With modern middleware designed to raise agility and make the business more lean, Asia Pacific’s financial services industry can adapt at unprecedented speed to meet customers where they are. Armed with the decisive added value this creates, providers across the region can thrive by staying competitive and giving their customers what they need as their own financial needs shift and change.