Today, the only constant in the Asia-Pacific’s financial services market is constant evolution. The hypercompetitive landscape keeps providers on their toes, particularly in driving digital customer experience and satisfaction. In Singapore, for instance, a Finder.com survey reveals that 21% of adults in the country have a digital bank account, and this figure is expected to rise to 30% by year-end. For traditional financial services players, staying relevant in the face of changing consumer behaviour and digital-native newcomers can seem daunting. However, striving to deeply understand customers can be a game-changer and help maintain relevance.
The foundation of financial services providers’ relationship with customers remains trust, ease of use, and personalised, nuanced offerings. What has changed is how they interact through the new channels opened up by digital banking. Banks, in fact, possess a valuable treasure trove of data. This presents real opportunities to tailor services and create added value, but it requires strategic data management, secure handling, accurate interpretation, and effective implementation of new 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 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. Big Data contains information on preferences, needs, and buying patterns, which 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’s 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.
However, while digital transformation grows apace, data-centricity remains a challenge. An EY report notes that although data and analytics constitute the second-highest investment area for the region’s financial services industry, only 8% describe themselves as data-centric.
The importance of generating continuous value
For the typical financial services executive across the Asia-Pacific region, the importance of customer lifetime value is not unfamiliar. Customers’ financial needs change and evolve over the course of their lives. The imperative for providers is to meet these needs better and faster than their competitors. However, meeting these continuously changing needs quickly, responsively, and helpfully presents a different set of challenges.
The first step is to recognize that obtaining a comprehensive and detailed view of their customers opens up avenues to deliver the desired services promptly. Additionally, providers need to realise the added value for both their customers and themselves by creating an ecosystem that enables close collaboration and seamless data sharing across all departments. This is crucial for addressing the operational and analytical complexities involved in customer processes. Initially, businesses need to review their technology stack. While investing in modern CRM systems is important, process management and application integration should not be overlooked. Failure to consider integration can result in an environment with disjointed applications unable to perform at an optimal level.
This is where an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) offers financial services players the ability to integrate different departments and systems, bringing together the organisation’s applications and data sources.
Modernise and innovate with integration
With an iPaaS, financial services providers can easily and quickly build interoperability across legacy environments and cloud applications. The increase 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. Simultaneously, this will allow modernization of legacy infrastructure.
The same EY report mentioned earlier found that, out of all sectors in the Asia-Pacific region, the financial services sector struggles the most with migrating legacy architecture and integrating multiple systems. This fact presents an opportunity for those who can quickly leverage iPaaS to differentiate themselves by seamlessly connecting new and old systems at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional integration.
With modern middleware designed to increase agility and streamline the business, the financial services industry in the Asia-Pacific region can adapt at an unprecedented speed to meet customers’ needs. Equipped with the added value this creates, providers across the region can thrive by remaining competitive and meeting their customers’ evolving financial needs.