It is no surprise that digital is transforming how investment banks interact with their clients and employees. Digital can drive profitability, growth and differentiation, and the good news is that many firms are already thinking about how to integrate digital into their businesses.

While investment banks know that embracing digital is clearly a part of their future, how to get started, what technologies make the most sense and gaining consensus to have “digital integration” as a priority agenda, are all questions that firms are grappling with. The challenge for banks this year will be to rethink the digital proposition, how it can be leveraged to build and expand their current business as well as providing information clients really need.

Four areas to watch this year

We believe there are four key areas where digital will have the biggest impact this year:

  • Analytics – Analytics can help investment banks unite operational needs with client insights, enabling greater cross selling, client retention and price optimization. For instance, Accenture worked with a leading global asset management company to evaluate current processes and recommended a plan to implement managed services around cost-to-serve analytics to achieve a 25–30 percent uplift in overall process efficiency.
  • Mobility – With an anticipated increase in mobile device usage comes an increase in client expectations. Because investors want to access their data—and their bank—from anywhere at any time, banks need to create a mobile experience that doesn’t just replicate the online experience. The experience should be a personalized, targeted, on-the-go service that is relevant to the client. One large European Bank, for example, launched an iPad app for its financial advisors that provides customized presentations for client meetings and eSignature capabilities, allowing for increased sales effectiveness.
  • Networking and cloud computing – While many investment banks have already taken advantage of point solutions in cloud computing, the next step is a shift to more holistic cloud services. For example, banks can benefit from making a move to open platforms, allowing multi-market access and integration with third-party execution and order management systems. This enables systems and applications to become more nimble and will make big data more available.
  • Active defense – As the uptake of cloud computing increases, data security becomes an increasing concern. Investment banks will need to integrate solutions and approaches into an integrated security architecture that will proactively recognize risks and issues before they occur.

The benefits of digital technology cannot be ignored. Whether it’s stronger client engagement and more insightful analysis of data or tighter security over confidential information, digital can provide the edge that investment banks now seek. Up to this point, many banks have only been dipping their toes in the digital space. The challenge for investment banks this year will be to dive deep in to the digital waters.

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