Organizations in the financial services industry have experienced an intense period of rapid innovation and digital transformation over the past two years. Their response to the pandemic and the changing needs of customers and employees has driven the need for new solutions and creative thinking as brands strive to deliver seamless digital customer experiences across all of their products and services.
Now, as leaders contemplate what the next two years might look like, some universal truths are clear. First, users have become more reliant on digital services and apps to perform all kinds of transactions – from day-to-day banking, to paying bills, to applying for mortgages, to managing investment portfolios. Second, they have become less tolerant of poor app performance. If a site doesn’t meet the exacting standards of today’s digital users, a previously loyal customer will become a past customer.
Rather than looking to consolidate recent digital transformation projects and innovation programs and resting on their laurels, now is the time for leaders to invest in their IT teams and focus on solutions and skills. that will propel the next wave of innovation.
Here are three ways financial services organizations can better support technologists in their business to drive new processes, improve user experience, and cultivate customer trust.
1. Bring visibility to the entire IT environment
Flawless digital experiences can only be achieved when technologists have complete alignment and visibility across the entire computing environment. Many IT managers are now looking to build on their existing monitoring capabilities and generate a unified view of IT availability and performance across their entire IT estate.
This need for greater visibility is driven by a whole series of technical, operational and commercial factors. These include the growing complexity of IT infrastructure, heightened customer and end-user expectations, and heightened concerns about the potential impact of a major outage or service disruption.
For technologists looking to build on their existing monitoring capabilities and generate a unified view of IT availability and performance, full-stack observability is steadily gaining traction. Analyst firm Gartner defines observability as “the evolution of monitoring into a process that provides insight into digital business applications, accelerates innovation and improves customer experience”. Full-stack observability enables IT teams to utilize critical visibility across the entire IT stack, from the infrastructure application to the network.
Full-stack observability presents a great opportunity for financial services organizations to streamline processes and improve customer experience, and IT teams know it. In a recent Cisco AppDynamics survey of more than 1,200 global technologists (including those in the financial services industry), an overwhelming 98% consider its importance as a strategic solution that will allow them to stay ahead of the competition, and 87% said they will be on the path to implementing full stack observability this year.
2. Break down silos and eliminate war rooms
Of course, it’s nearly impossible to rule out all potential performance issues. What is now widely understood, however, is that technologists need to have the tools and the solutions at their fingertips. This is important so they can ensure that if and when issues arise, IT teams can quickly establish the root cause of the problem and fix it before the end user is impacted. Having data points to discuss post-mortem, which outline how many were affected, what the business risk was, and where improvements can be made, are all essential information to have.
But to be truly effective, they also need a single version of the truth – a unified, consolidated source of trusted data that all teams in an IT organization can access.
Gone are the days of operating in traditional silos with their own disconnected monitoring tools. Teams recognize the value of working together to discover why issues arise and how to resolve them faster and more efficiently.
Take, for example, a mobile banking application. If the application encounters a performance issue, such as slow load time, transactions not completing, or pages crashing, the organization needs to know immediately what is happening in the back-end to cause the problem and identify where the error is. event. There’s no room for costly and time-consuming war rooms where teams from development, security, IT operations, networking and more fight over ownership.
With full stack observability, the teams involved can troubleshoot the issue in real time, consolidating their notes and data using a timeline visible to all participants. Incident data can easily be translated into conversations with business leaders, so everyone can align on future solutions.
3. Invest in essential IT skills
Beyond investing in new solutions, financial services organizations must be proactive in investing in the individual needs and skills of their IT teams. It is beneficial for the entire organization to invest in employee training, both formal and informal. According to Deloitte71% of CEOs view a labor and skills shortage as a disruption to their business strategy over the next 12 months.
As technologies such as full stack observability continue to develop, the skills required of IT teams will also need to evolve. In the recent Cisco AppDynamics report mentioned earlier, three-quarters of technologists listed having the right skills as a critical factor in achieving their goals for full observability in 2022.
Importantly, the research indicates that technologists are clear about where they need to focus their efforts in order to achieve their goals over the next 12 months. Skills are seen as the highest priority, with technologists recognizing the need for specialized skills to monitor performance in the cloud.
This need is largely driven by the general shift to open telemetry – a specific observability framework for cloud-native software. Technologists know they need innovative strategies to attract high-quality talent against fierce competition, or to quickly upskill existing team members to be able to optimize performance in environments of microservices, containers and serverless. The reality is that it will take a combination of both approaches for most organizations.
At the forefront of innovation
A multitude of issues can affect the performance and user experience of financial services customers. But by investing in technology, organizational change, and the people who drive IT forward, leaders can ensure the long-term success of their business. By meeting IT teams’ demand for comprehensive observability, breaking down silos and investing in the development of critical skills, financial services institutions can bet they will succeed in the next wave of digital transformation.