Earlier this month, I had the privilege of hosting our first digital roundtable, bringing together transformation and operational leads from a range of global Investment Banks in Europe. The roundtable provided a forum to share experiences on front office digital transformation and the impact COVID-19 is having on those programmes. Whilst we covered numerous topics, several key themes came through.

Banker adoption remains a challenge

The business case for transforming the front office focused on banker productivity and profitable growth is clear. Translating this case into tangible, banker benefit remains a challenge as time and effort tends to focus on technology delivery and not on change required to enable adoption. Several approaches to address this were discussed:

  • Balancing banker requirements with those of the CAO function. Historically, CRM has been built to enable operations to capture relevant data and run reports, rather than enable bankers, a key driver of poor adoption. Being clear on who the customer of the digital transformation is, along with understanding the change impact and ways of working is essential.
  • Aligning global strategic KPIs set out by the leadership with banker scorecards and dashboards in CRM drives transparency on where leadership is focused. Real-time dashboards have incentivised the entry of relevant information by bankers, and re-enforced value that leadership associates to certain activities.
  • Involving bankers in the design and requirements gathering throughout the programme – prioritising functionality that matters early including Outlook integration and who knows whom.
  • Bringing together actual ways of working and how CRM is designed for pipeline management. Being able to capture initial, long term identified opportunities, not used for pipeline commitments is incredibly useful to coverage and M&A bankers, having the ability to capture quick transactions is much more useful in DCM. The CRM tool needs to be designed to meet both requirements, with the right pipeline functionality for the right banker.

The carrot and stick of data quality

Trust in the data both at client structure and revenue level remains a pain point, especially as data quality is not considered a bankers’ problem. To address this we heard examples of:

  • Looking at data quality AI tools to automate client data quality checks, together with standardising hierarchy structures across IBDs and Global Markets. This is underpinned by defining how client structures are defined and visualised – essential both for regulatory requirement and to ensure that relevant data is surfaced to drive a better banker experience.
  • Driving data accountability with bankers including the need for contact entry and sharing, along with leading by example by senior leadership. Adopting a culture where the Salesforce pipeline is part of the Monday meetings at regional level, where “if the deal isn’t in Salesforce, it won’t be discussed” has been effective

True client lifecycle management

Investment Banking still suffers from siloed legacy applications impacting the ability to on-board and service clients efficiently and digitally.

  • Enabling the client journey from on-boarding to servicing, reducing manual intervention where possible remains a focus area. At a foundational level, connecting CRM to on-boarding technology – looking at standardising regional ways of working and client structures
  • Moving towards a digital, end-to-end client experience– with discussions focusing on maturity of client self-service portals and cloud content management providers to capture and store relevant data securely.

Due to the likely prolonged need to work remotely – COVID-19 has heightened the importance of providing bankers across all grades the right tools to be productive and connected globally. While each Investment Bank is facing its own challenges on balancing necessary short-term fixes, with longer-term transformation the focus needs to be on the employee and client experience.