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United Kingdom financial services digital readiness report

Moving from digital strategy to a sustainable digital business


When it comes to strategy, it’s no longer good enough to just “talk a good digital game”—banks and insurers have to actually deliver on their digital plans.

As observed in most other countries covered by the research, the UK’s Financial Services industry has focused most of its digital investment on customer-facing initiatives. However, in order to unlock the true value of digital, a far more holistic approach will be required. This will involve harnessing digital in areas such as product innovation, enhanced customer propositions and more efficient back-office operations. In a nutshell—embracing digital across all parts of the value chain.

These are some of the findings from Accenture’s European Financial Services Digital Readiness Research. Using public information—the same that is available to potential investors and customers— an Accenture research team assessed organisations against four key facets of an enterprise: strategy, production, customer experience and operations.


Key Findings

We measured digital readiness across four key enterprise functions:


Plan: Building a Digital Transformation Strategy

  • 90 percent of UK financial services include digital in their strategy (vs. 86 percent of other European firms).

  • 70 percent allocate budget to digital (vs. only 37 percent in the rest of Europe).

  • Plan

    Make: Embracing Digital Production and Delivery

  • 60 percent of UK financial services are using crowdsourcing and other open innovation activities to generate innovative ideas (vs. 58 percent across Europe).

  • 80 percent of UK financial services utilise open innovation (vs. European average of only 60 percent).

  • Sell

    Sell: Creating and Sustaining Digital Customer Interactions

  • 55 percent of UK financial services firms accept digital feedback from customers (vs. 86 percent of all European firms).

  • The UK is on par with the rest of Europe in providing marketing content via digital channels (90 percent for UK; 91 percent for Europe).

  • Plan

    Manage: Operating with a Digital Culture

  • Only 37 percent of banks highlight reviews of their digital investments, while only 11 percent of insurers do so.

  • Only 53 percent of firms train employees on digital skills, this is a missed opportunity.

  • Recommendations

    Given the information-based businesses both banks and insurers run, it is perhaps surprising that the financial services industry is in the middle of the pack in terms of its digital readiness. And yet most financial services firms are channelling their initial digital energies into strategy and customer interactions, betraying a reluctance perhaps to dive into the messier work of tackling their legacy systems to embedding digital deep inside their operations.

    Embracing a multi-speed IT approach can help organisations as they make the shift from technology supporting the business to business supporting the technology.

    Given the pace of innovation and the rich opportunities in the digital space, the best way to close the gap between digital disruptors and traditional leaders is for the latter to step up their game. By sharing best practices across firms, industries and regions—and by collaborating with Fintechs and other sources of innovation—financial services firms can redefine their models, ensuring a position of relevance in the minds of investors and their customers.