The rapid and accelerating pace of technological change poses problems for financial services firms. In a digital environment, firms need to develop whole new ways of working. They need not only need new approaches to IT, but new approaches to helping workers adapt to a digital culture and new ways of doing things.

The impact of technological change is evident almost everywhere, but the speed of technological change is increasing, as well.  The telephone, for example, took 39 years to reach a 40 percent penetration of the market, while it took the smartphone just 10 years to reach the same level of acceptance.

In response to technological change, financial services firms are under tremendous pressure to develop new skills, new processes and new products.  They need, essentially, to come up with whole new ways of working.

In this environment, firms will need a new approach to IT as well.  They need DevOps models and practices to deliver on a daily basis, along with service oriented architecture and the cloud for scalability and software-as-a-service for efficiency.  Architectures and platforms should support agility and collaboration.

None of this works, however, without an acceptance of change – and of the pace of change – by the workforce.  The firm’s people need to expect change, understand its impact and keep pace with it by evolving and adding to their skills.  That calls for a strategy that prepares workers to adapt to a new organizational culture and new ways of working.  Workers must also come to terms with how customers behave in the digital era.

If you work in the HR function at a financial services firm – or if HR is in your reporting span – you might be asking yourself some key questions about your preparedness for technological change.

These include:

Do you have a strategy for getting your workforce comfortable with technological change?

What is the average age of your workforce?  Do you have many “digital natives” who can be expected to adapt readily to new technologies?

Do you know much about workforce attitudes toward technology and adoption?  Are your people comfortable with the technologies you now have in place? 

The financial services workforce will need to become more tech-savvy, creative and analytic.  New roles will arise, and some existing roles will change as well.  In the next blog, I will look at some of the common perceptions (and misperceptions) about Millennials and digital natives and their place in the financial services workforce of the future.

Read more:

Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2016

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