Financial services benefit most from digital

Research conducted by Coleman Parkes, commissioned by Ricoh Europe, looks at how small and large companies are working to realise a fully digitised business future. The financial services industry clearly sees reaching a state of digital maturity as a money-maker, with 73 percent anticipating that it will have a positive effect on organic business growth. In addition, 69 percent say that it will make them more attractive to investors or potential buyers, suggesting that digital maturity could be a deciding factor in takeovers and mergers.

Looking deeper into the value which the industry places in digital maturity, it is smaller businesses that are most confident. The research reveals that small financial services businesses understand the widespread advantages of achieving digital maturity:

· 79 percent say that their ability to optimise processes quickly gives them a distinct advantage when pursuing digital maturity

· 70 percent believe they are able to understand, deploy and benefit from new technology quicker than larger competitors

· 63 percent expect to reach digital maturity quicker than larger enterprises

The confidence felt by small financial services businesses is perhaps due to their general agility, as well as their ability to adopt new ways of working quicker than enterprise organisations. However, 67 percent say they will need external help – either with all projects or in conjunction with their own internal team – to reach optimal digital maturity.

With the exception of retail, financial services have had to become the most digitally orientated in response to customer demand for easy access to transactions online and via mobile. The need to reach digital maturity is heightened further for the sector, as digitally-savvy Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 2000) and their families will be the main buyers of financial services in the next 20 years and beyond.

Carsten Bruhn, Executive Vice President, Ricoh Europe (pictured), says: “Regulatory changes and new providers making in-roads into the financial services industry have put pressure on traditional financial organisations to change the way they do business. Companies that are ‘fluent’ in digital communication and analytics are constantly snapping at their heels.

"The good news is that the move to digitise the information flow has proved successful, meaning the majority of financial services companies are on the fast track to digitising other aspects of their business as well as the customer service journey. Yet too many businesses still believe that they have time to catch up digitally – and they may be in for a shock. The big question is; can companies who do not fully embrace digital survive?”