Last week (19 June) BJSS was excited to exhibit at the Banking Transformation Summit 2024, held at the Excel Centre, London. Among the hot topics of discussion were Generative AI, cloud platforms, and the need to upskill employees to drive business and digital transformation. Over the course of two days, our teams dove headfirst into the seminar insights, got hands-on with demos, and engaged in meaningful networking. Here are our top three takeaways for those working in banking and financial services.

Takeaway 1: If 2023 was the year of planning, 2024 is the year of AI adoption in banking

AI was the dominant theme at the Banking Transformation Summit. An AI & automation in banking panel featured experts from HSBC, Bank of America, and Shawbrook Bank. The panel dug into how leading banks are actively experimenting with AI through proof of concepts (PoCs) and pilots across a variety of use cases.

Shawbrook Bank labelled 2024 as the “year of action” as banks move into production after dipping their toes into AI in 2023. Employee productivity is a key focus area for banks with AI investments across key use cases. This includes conducting due diligence, content summarisation, writing code, and other developer assistant tools.

Banks remain cautious about customer-facing AI use cases – such as assessing credit worthiness - due to the potential security and data privacy risks. The general sentiment on the panel was that banks will take an iterative approach, starting with less risky customer-facing use cases, like chatbots that use sentiment analysis to create more seamless customer interactions. Equally, Skipton Building Society highlighted the potential benefits on offer from plugging AI into contact centres to automate responses to less complex customer queries. However, they emphasised the importance of keeping human customer service representatives in the loop to ensure accountability and traceability of decisions.

Takeaway 2: Building Societies are on the front-foot with their digital transformation

Skipton Building Society spoke candidly about its strategic necessity to respond to disruption and improve its digital user experience to complement branch networks.

  • Fast-growing digital challenger banks like Monzo have matured and emerged as serious contenders in the retail banking sector.
  • And a leading, digital-first experience became a key customer demand during and after the lockdown periods of 2020-2021, placing building societies on the backfoot.

In response, Skipton is putting members at the centre of its large-scale digital transformation. Its transformation is focused across three key areas: Shifting to become digital first, building a clearer picture of customer journeys, and maintaining their customer focus. Coventry Building Society also highlighted how its multi-year transformation is squarely focused on benefiting their members.

Closing the digital user experience gap now apparentbetween building societiesand their banking peers is critical to preserving high-levels of customer service while attracting next-gen members. Branches remain a critical element of a building society’s value proposition. But they simultaneously need to meet the needs of wider demographics with first-rate digital products.

Takeaway 3: Multi-year transformations are about people AND technology

Coventry Building Society spoke about learnings from its ongoing multi-year cloud-based transformation.

  • Coventry has taken a phased approach to its transformation, enabling it to ramp up its capabilities from developing its mobile app to building a cloud data platform.
  • As the second-largest building society in the UK, they highlighted the importance of quick wins through PoCs, used to prove value and build the business case for further investment to get executive buy-in.
  • Coventry also emphasised the importance of placing its members and employees at the centre of transformations to realise business value.
  • It also underlined the necessity to learn from challenges and pivot – and detailed how it has been forced to rein in its initial ambition for widescale cloud transformation.

Coventry’s focus on bringing its people on the transformation journey shone through. While it is bringing in new personnel, skilled across disruptive data and AI capabilities, it is providing its existing employees with opportunities to upskill. And ensuring those that have a “heritage” skill set (across legacy tech and systems) remain valued. Developing a strong employee value proposition in which upskilling opportunities are baked into development is seen as crucial in enabling Coventry to attract top talent.

Skipton Building Society emphasised how it is making investments into its people to equip them with the skills to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change. They dug into how operating model and governance constraints can be the key roadblocks to transformation and innovation pace.

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BJSS is a leading partner to the banking and financial services industry. Over the past 30 years, we've helped large banks, building societies, investment managers, insurers, and fintechs to innovate at scale. Talk to us about your transformation goals.