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Converting digital interest into a measurable yield

European banks and insurers work to close the gap between digital strategy and operations.


When it comes to embracing the key components of the digital business, European banks and insurers need to focus on putting strategies into action. Accenture European Financial Services Digital Readiness Index, which uses public information, found that European financial services firms are losing ground to digital innovators, which are more effective at integrating digital into all aspects of their organizations.

Banks and insurers in Europe’s top five markets share key trends when it comes to building digital into their businesses. Across the region, firms tend to do best in the areas of strategic thinking and in customer-facing initiatives. Bringing digital in house—into product development processes and operations—remains a challenge.

Eighty-one percent of firms highlight their work with start-ups and universities on digital topics, but only 60 percent have open innovation initiatives and 42 percent use digital technologies in their product development process.

Key Findings

We measured digital readiness across four key enterprise functions—plan, make, sell and manage. Within financial services in Europe, some trends emerged.



Plan: Including digital in corporate strategies, assigning accountability and designating budget.

  • 86 percent of companies include digital in their strategy

  • 63 percent have a chief digital officer or its equivalent

  • 37 percent allocate budget to digital

  • Plan

    Make: Incorporating digital into products and product development

  • 89 percent of firms launched new digital products & services

  • 42 percent use digital in product development

  • 60 percent have open innovation initiatives

  • 28 percent co-create digital solutions with vendors

  • Sell

    Sell: Marketing, selling and servicing customers through digital channels

  • 54 percent sell via at least one digital channel

  • 86 percent accept digital feedback from customers

  • 62 percent of online marketing is targeted

  • Plan

    Manage: Building digital processes, automating, tracking and improving employee performance through analytics

  • 24 percent review digital investment effectiveness

  • 53 percent use analytics to assess internal performance, but only 23 percent use it to evaluate employees’ competence

  • Only 57 percent have initiatives to break silos within the organization to adapt to digital agenda

  • Recommendations

    Banks and insurance companies are being pressured by changing customer expectations as well as by the entrance of digital innovators into the financial services market. These fintechs are gaining market share and investment money, and creating online customer experiences that effectively push traditional players out of transactions.

    To stay relevant with customers, investors and shareholders, financial services firms must move beyond digital strategy and into implementation. Becoming part of the digital experience—with one-tap quotes and two-tap loans or coverage—is one way to stay close to customers. But the customer is just one part of the equation. Financial firms must also digitalize their operations, from automating processes to improving current performance with digital tools and analytics.


    "For financial services, the question is no longer why to go digital or how. It’s a matter of how quickly."
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    About the Research

    Accenture analyzed the extent of digital transformation of 53 leading banks and insurers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. Publicly available information on these companies provided an ‘outside’ view that would equate to that of a potential future customer or investor. In this way, the team could also provide the external perception of advancement in this space. In total, 117 indicators were measured for each firm in the index. Scores for individual metrics ranged from 1 (basic level) to 4 (best practice). Firm scores represent an average of scores for each component. Country-level scores were obtained by weighting individual player scores by revenues (or gross written premiums in the case of insurers). The European average is a simple average of the country level scores.