Accenture Banking Blog

For the last several weeks, I’ve been unpacking our latest research and report, “Enterprise Agility: The New Strategic Imperative,” guiding you through our findings and analysis.

We’ve covered why true agility is a strategic imperative for financial services firms, yet how it remains elusive for so many. In a volatile world, enterprise agility does not only deliver the ability to respond to disruption, but also delivers significant financial value and long-term competitive advantage. As our research shows, ‘Truly Agile’ firms are twice as likely as the average to achieve top-quartile financial performance, yet most of FS remains in the ‘At Risk’ quadrant, because they are not fast or stable enough.

FS firms looking to achieve and retain enterprise agility will have to rewire the business for speed and stability, adjusting leadership and culture; changing how risk, governance, funding and investment are handled; as well as creating more flexible organizations, workforces, channels and operations, technology and data. They will have to simultaneously embrace continuous change and radical transformation. That means ‘being agile’ rather than ‘doing agile.’

For incumbent FS firms stuck in the ‘At Risk’ quadrant, time to respond is slipping away. New entrants that are born agile can move faster than incumbents and do not face the same constraints of legacy complexity, skills and mind-sets and competing priorities.  Within the incumbents, change leaders in FS are making headway and will, if they continue to lead the pack, reinforce their competitive advantage. It will be increasingly difficult for the followers to catch up, even as the pressure to do so mounts.

I’ve also outlined the practical steps that FS firms can take on their unique journeys to enterprise agility. These can be done from any starting point and even in a regulated industry context.

While navigating this journey to true agility, while building speed and strength is not easy, the stakes are high. The banks and insurers that lag behind in the agility game will risk competitive advantage and significant financial results.

American cyclist Steve Larsen said, “You can’t get good by staying home. If you want to get fast, you have to go where the fast guys are.” FS firms looking to stay competitive in an increasingly digital world would be wise to heed that advice.

The future success of financial services depends on enterprise agility. And the future is now.

To find out more about enterprise agility in FS or to join our FS Change Director Forum, please contact me here, or on Twitter @AndyYoungACN.

To learn more, register to download: Enterprise Agility in Financial Services: The New Strategic Imperative and listen and subscribe to our podcast, Talking Agility.