RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Amidst rapid, disruptive change in the banking industry, some firms have honed their agility and mastered change–achieving significant results.
  • The Banking Change Survey 2017 explores key attributes of change leaders and seven steps for mastering change in the new digital economy.


To gain a better understanding of the state of change in the banking industry, and how banks are tackling change, Accenture conducted a Financial Services Change Survey which examined financial services organizations’ change priorities, capabilities and approaches, and the change outcomes they are achieving. We found there is a small group – we call them the change leaders – who are significantly more effective than their peers.

Joining the change leader paceline

Approximately 10 percent of the firms surveyed are achieving much better results from their change investments, and report markedly better commercial performance as a result. Like in a long-distance bicycle race, as the race speeds up the disruption initiated by these front-running change leaders will eventually cause the chasing peloton to break up. Those banks not able to adapt and keep pace will slip off the back and out of contention. But, what makes change leaders so much better?

What attributes do change leaders possess?

In addition to a clear vision for change, change leaders’ success appears to be due to three main factors: a well-defined digital strategy, a culture that embraces change, and an effective change capability. Together, these factors help them execute greater volumes of change at a faster pace and with stronger disciplines.

Well-defined digital strategy

They balance internal digitization and external channels and regard innovation and digital as the new core of their business.

Clear and effective change capability

They are developing change capabilities that allow them to execute change with greater pace and discipline.

Sharp focus on the human factor

They understand the importance of culture and human dynamics in making transformational change happen–they put people at the heart of change.

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What are the highest priorities for banks?

Ninety-two percent of change leaders in our survey said they have a cross-enterprise digital capability, compared to only 54 percent of other respondents. We asked change leaders how important digital technologies have been to the delivery of their change programs.

Among the digital technologies rated as most important for change delivery in banking are big data & analytics, mobile, and the cloud.

Change leaders are also more likely to run their change programs according to plan, with 74 percent saying their program was delivered on time and 49 percent saying they delivered on budget. In response, they achieved significant change benefits, notably better efficiency and cost control, new digital technologies and channels, risk and regulatory compliance, and product and service innovation.

The road to becoming a change leader

Whatever your strategy is for capitalizing on disruption and innovation, a professional change capability will be critical to your success. There are seven practical steps for mastering change you can take to thrive in the new digital economy:

1. Lead with vision

Ensure the organization has a clear understanding of the change that is required. Spend time with leaders at all levels, building their commitment to this vision.

2. Prioritize investments in “The New”

Prioritize investments that both benefit the core business and build the new business for the future. Re-prioritize continually and make sure there is sufficient funding for both goals.

3. Innovate and scale for value

Where there is no clear value or the innovation does not work in your new business model, stop quickly, learn from the experience, and shift your investment of time and money elsewhere.

4. Make change more human

Approach change management in a participative, frequent and human way. Put people at the heart of change and foster a creative environment that allows employees to acquire new digital skills.

5. Be open to change from outside

Consider what role you will play in the industry ecosystem–especially your contribution to the customer experience and meeting customer needs.

6. Build true agility

Agile change offers many benefits, especially speed-to-value and learning through iterative change. It offers firms a competitive advantage and enables banks to balance pace and stability.

7. Prioritize and develop your change capability

Change capabilities that are needed depend on a clear change vision and portfolio. Key operating model decisions can then be taken to develop and apply this capability.

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How will your organization thrive in “The New”?

The future of banking is one of continuous, accelerating change–small, constant changes as well as large-scale transformations. Banks need to make explicit choices about their future business models, form a clear vision of how to develop them, and then execute boldly and with discipline. Change leaders have shown the way forward. Read more about the findings from our survey and practical suggestions for next steps in your change journey in our report–register below.

"You have mandatory change because of regulation, you have change because of what competitors are doing, and then you have another kind of change: to catch the latest trends and what the customer is asking of you, but also what the customer has not asked for, but which you imagine. This is the change that can deliver the greatest economic benefit."

— CRISTOFORO AVAGLIANO, Senior Manager – Internal Consulting (Digital Banking Processes), BNL BNP Paribas

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