Driving a New Kind of “Operational Innovation”

After the economic storm as it is banking executives are starting to look into the means of using innovations to help drive financial progress.


2020 is the year in which acute disruption altered life socially, economically and, perhaps most importantly, technologically. Every industry has been effected by Covid-19 but perhaps none more so than banking. Sitting at the epicenter of the economic storm as it is banking executives are starting to look into the means of using innovations to help drive financial progress in the face of the virus.

New Kind of “Operational Innovation”

The simple truth of the matter is this, executives shouldn’t be in a position where they’re having to choose between operations and innovation, the two should work in tandem to deliver change across their organizations and improve their operational abilities in the day-to-day.

Established banks have long since been aware of the fact that in order to remain relevant and competitive they must upgrade their systems to the point that they are able to provide a truly customer-centric business model. After all, challenger banks are doing it, so why shouldn’t they? Achieving operational innovation then, is best achieved through a pincer strategy that addresses the following.

Operational Redesign

Customer needs are changing faster than ever before and, as such, executives should consider rejigging their operations to address this progressive transformation. According to Capgemini, encouraging positive experiences will be the key driver of customer loyalty both now and whilst moving towards the future of banking so an operational redesign is part and parcel in the process.

If successful, redesigning your operational capabilities will free staff up to innovate more impactfully in the areas that require it, and help them to learn how to solve novel problems in novel ways. In terms of best practices to pursue operational redesign, executives might consider employing the following:

  • Reduce Customer Contact Points – The more numerous your customer contact points, the less certain they are that the service they’re receiving is specialized, reduce to what is necessary.
  • Increase Customer Control – As the digital age advances, so too does the control that customers expect when they engage with businesses, your redesign must account for this.
  • Abolish Tasks which Add no Value – If your employees are wasting time on tasks which see no tangible results for the end-user, get rid of them.
  • Optimize Your Process Flow – Change the sequence of the tasks you tackle until you have defined a streamlined process which saves on time and cost.
  • Empower Your Employees – Many executives resist giving their employees decision-making authority, but this is a mistake, employees with more control deliver results quickly and happily.
  • Specialize Your Resources – Empowering your employees is all well and good but you should also help to specialize them through upskilling and training, a specialist will boost productivity and competitive advantage where a standard employee can only hope to.

Operational Innovation

Once business leaders have effectively laid the groundwork in terms of operational planning, they can then start to consider the innovations that they can employ to see them over the line. Profitability, freeing up resources, and increasing the return on investment are the gold standard to which all banking leaders should be working, and these are best achieved by investing in the tools your teams use daily.

For example, a recent survey from PwC discovered that innovation within the banking industry was considered to be important by 87% of their respondents, but only 11% said that their organization was prepared to institute it. The pace of change within banking has never been faster and to this end, executives should be tapping into automation to streamline the customer journey or developing and adopting the tools which transform how teams support customers.

Automation will prove vital in helping banks to roll out seamless end-to-end digital journeys and free up staff time, whilst the right tools will help staff to more readily advise customers on the best financial products, boost loyalty through tailored engagements and provide a more bespoke and engaging platform through which the business can operate. Either way, executives must make use of both to provide for their customers and deliver operational innovation.

Continue the debate at the Banking Innovation Summit, a GDS Summit, where we bring together senior Banking executives who are actively seeking to share, learn, engage, and find the best technology solutions.

GDS Group hosts experts to help experts. We strive to provide an atmosphere for our attendees that enables them to confidently lead their companies through major transformation projects. For information on upcoming events, view our view our Digital Summits. To remain current on our activities, visit GDS Group on LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter.