From the great financial crisis to the pandemic, banks have been navigating new levels of change in the marketplace for the past two decades. New regulations have placed increasing constraints and burdens on institutions. New market forces have also come into play, ushering in a new era of digital finance and consumer-focused technologies that have transformed how banks run their business and connect with customers.
For banks large and small, planning for the future amid these disruptions has been tough—made even tougher by the chronic shortage of finance and technology talent. But we are seeing the more forward-looking banks adapt and respond with investments in digital finance and other capabilities that help them better plan for the future. At the center of these transformations are a new generation of cloud applications that provide front-to-back integration and visibility across every part of the business, from finance and marketing to sales and customer service.
Getting the entire enterprise pointed in the right direction can be daunting for banks that manage multiple lines of business, different customer segments, and an array of product portfolios. Many parts of the business—and the technologies they run on—have been inherited from mergers and acquisitions.
Such complex organizational structures often lead to an enterprise that’s split into different operational and data silos. In this environment, a customer segment, for example, may mean one thing for one line of business, and something else for the other. To do effective planning and forecasting at scale, banks should be able to pull all the data together on a common platform, using an enterprise wide, unified data model.
Yet it’s still common to see organizations rely on spreadsheets and other manual processes to collect and consolidate these disparate data sets, consuming precious staff time in the process. For the majority of banks we work with, the lack of a unified data and application platform presents a major obstacle to becoming a more agile and efficient business. In fact, many of the bank CFOs we talk to tell us that a top priority is getting an end-to-end view of their organization, because only then can they understand how the business is performing, where they need to adapt, and where they need to invest.
Since data lies at the center of this effort, PwC’s customer engagements start by implementing a unified data model and defining how data is used across the business from end to end, spanning their core banking platforms, financial systems, enterprise planning and forecasting capabilities, and more.
The data model forms the core of what we call our PwC Financial Services Industry Model Systems, an integrated set of Oracle Cloud solutions that are designed for the specific needs of bankers and banking institutions. It's like an open canvas that can be configured a thousand different ways with built-in
One of the biggest benefits of the model system is how easily it serves up your desired KPIs, business analytics, and performance dashboards on a mobile device. If you’re a CFO or other banking executive, you can call up these assets on a tablet and then drill down from a graph to the most granular level of data. When we demonstrate these mobile-friendly systems to customers, invariably their faces light up, and they’ll say something to the effect of: “Wow, this is what I need to get to.”
We are currently working with a 100% digital startup bank that wanted to get its entire business infrastructure up and running quickly. The answer was to deploy an entire suite of Oracle Cloud Applications capable of managing a full range of banking transactions. Next, we implemented additional methodologies to unlock the power of a fully integrated front-to-back platform, with the KPIs and connected planning tools the bank needed to successfully compete in its market. The bank is now on track to stand up the business at an accelerated pace.
We’re going through the same process with some of the leading global banks, starting by showing the power of connecting financial, operational, and line-of-business planning to improve decision-making and agility. For bigger banks, due to their greater complexity and global scope, it takes somewhat longer to configure the data model and agree on the common datasets. But those challenges are consistently solvable in short order as they adapt to a more integrated financial platform such as Oracle.
Down the road, we expect to experience even faster rates of change in the banking sector, with time to market drastically reduced as they look to launch newer and often more complex financial products across multiple jurisdictions. Think about the potential rise of crypto as one example. It’s likely that if banks can’t adapt to the quickening pace, they’re going to get left behind. But if they have agile planning and forecasting tools with a flexible and unified financial and data platform, they'll be able to go to market faster than the competition and plan for the future with confidence.