The competitive landscape in banking has shifted. Cloud competence no longer gives a bank an edge—cloud mastery is required. However, as the latest issue of Accenture’s Banking Cloud Altimeter puts it, more than 65% of banks are failing to capture the value they expect from their uses of the cloud. Accenture’s experience has demonstrated that focusing on alignment, ability and adoption—which we also call “The Three As” —is a powerful approach for achieving cloud mastery. In this post we’ll take a closer look at ability. 

A power accelerant… or a formidable barrier 

Ability is the sum total of cloud transformation skills present across the organization—not just in the IT department. It includes both tech skills and attributes like a growth mindset and change agility. With the world moving faster than ever, the need for new digital skills and cultures fueled by growth mindsets are critical to future success. 

Accenture’s recent Modern Cloud Champions report on cloud transformation confirms that ability plays a key role in the cloud journey. Compared with the competition, cloud leaders enjoy higher digital fluency across the organization, increased worker productivity and lower costs for training and development.

We also found that in banking specifically, Cloud Champions are:  

  • 1.8 times more likely to have the skills required to transform into a cloud-enabled organization;
  • 1.8 times more likely to be able to develop future talent at scale; 
  • 4.6 times more likely to have the skills required to transform into a cloud-enabled organization; 
  • 1.3 times more likely to promote a growth mindset among the workforce. 

Conversely, low organizational ability is a significant hurdle to cloud transformation.  

Another recent study from Accenture, Sky high hopes: Navigating the barriers to maximizing cloud value, found that 36% of IT and business leaders say lack of cloud skills is one of the three biggest barriers to cloud transformation that their business faces. (For comparison, the most commonly cited barrier was security and compliance risk, which 46% of IT and business leaders named as a top three concern.)  

But hiring isn’t a viable solution to a cloud skills shortage. Companies are struggling to recruit cloud talent, according to a study by Global Knowledge. Even successful hiring of priority cloud resources comes with an eight-month lag, on average.

This means that banks looking to lead in the cloud must focus instead on upskilling and reskilling their existing employees. Without this, a bank will be constrained in its reach for greater agility and value from its cloud investments. 

However, it’s not just tech skills that need to be cultivated. Many companies approach digital transformation with a primary focus on technology. Yet digital success arises from the right combination of strategic intent and human capabilities. Failure to achieve this combination is a major reason why 79% of digital transformation plans get delayed, scaled back or outright fail.

Cloud transformation requires the entire enterprise to work in a cloud-first way and build digital fluency, which goes beyond the simple use of digital tools. Digital fluency means someone can use those tools to create something new.

Workers in the industry, it should be said, are eager to develop their digital fluency. An Accenture study earlier this year, Honing your digital edge,  asked workers what skills they would like to learn. The top three responses were cybersecurity (69%), digital collaboration tools (66%) and cloud computing technology (63%).

So how can banks create and sustain behaviors that support workforce digital fluency? They need people with the right attitude (growth mindset), the right skills (competencies for success) and vision (to see value for themselves and the company). A digital skilling initiative should account for each of these three factors. 

The science and art of learning the cloud 

Cloud adoption can be  is to foster communities of independent, self-motivated learners in your business. When empowered with digital experiential learning and encouraged to learn what they need to know when they need to know it, employees can pick up new skills at a remarkable rate. Organizations need to personalize and accelerate the learning journeys they offer, aligning individuals with future skills to drive new skill adoption and create a culture of learning. 

The report I quoted from, It’s learning. Just not as we know it, which is built on a survey of over 1,100 banking executives in 11 markets worldwide, suggests a path forward. We found that cloud leaders are significantly more likely than their competitors to: 

  • Embrace a culture of continuous learning among both leaders and general workers; 
  • Use intelligent technology to match training to required job skills; and 
  • Offer training that uses experimental methods like gamification, virtual reality and augmented reality. 

It turns out these findings comport with lots more research into how adults learn. We know from previous Accenture research on learning that to make a difference for workers, learning needs to be multimodal, effortful, spread out over time, and connected to a relevant context for the learner. 

This means providing a learning experience for busy financial services professionals that can: 

  • Deliver new material in “byte”-sized chunks of microlearning that can be quickly absorbed just before they are needed.
  • Be accessed anytime, anywhere, on any platform. 
  • Connect learners to their peers, so they can share progress and make recommendations for friends.
  • Learn about its learners—and adapt to the needs of individual users. 
  • Leverage the best available knowledge from curated subject matter experts. 
  • Offer continuous engagement to weave itself into everyday work. 
  • Be gamified, to encourage a sense of fun, achievement, and friendly competition. 

Delivering learning in this way will help not only improve a financial services organization’s cloud journey but also boost its organizational agility more broadly. This will convey a host of additional benefits, including:

  • Better value creation; 
  • Stronger collaboration; 
  • Better change management; 
  • Improved human resources practices; 
  • Greater innovation; and 
  • An improved customer experience. 

Go with the flow 

Workforce learning should also, ideally, create a state of “flow” in the learner—intense involvement in the moment-to-moment experience of an activity. When we’re experiencing flow, distractions fall away and we function at our highest capacity.   

The concept of flow was first explained by the groundbreaking psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The surprising thing about it from the perspective of workforce learning is that we don’t need to run off to a mountaintop somewhere to achieve it. With the right learning systems in place, flow-state learning can arise even in the life of the busiest professional. 

The good news is that learning that creates these outcomes is available right now. Accenture’s Solutions AI for talent and skilling powers the entire upskilling journey for learners by bringing together intelligent insights, hyper-relevant content, and a people-centric experience, while seamlessly integrating into a variety of ecosystem partner platforms. It uses advanced AI, machine learning and deep learning to enhance the learning experience for workers across the entire journey, and can be deployed at scale.

If you’d like to discuss your bank’s talent challenges and how Accenture can help, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached here. 

In the meantime, read more about Accenture’s research on financial services and the cloud in our new digital publication, the Banking Cloud Altimeter

To learn more about this topic, you also download the full “Modern Cloud Champions” report below or watch my colleague Yaarit Silverstone discuss the report with Todd Pruzan of the Harvard Business Review here.
Read report

In my next post, I’ll explore the last of “The Three As”—adoption. 

Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors.
Disclaimer: This document refers to marks owned by third parties. All such third-party marks are the property of their respective owners. No sponsorship, endorsement or approval of this content by the owners of such marks is intended, expressed or implied.