Financial executives had to push through their digital transformation strategies in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, and fast, according to a recent survey from Toronto-based Broadridge Financial Solutions.
Of the financial services executives surveyed, 87% said that the pandemic had accelerated their digital plans, particularly in relation to how they interact with clients. For almost all of those executives (96%), there will be no going back even when there is a global “return to normal.”
“Actively prioritizing digitization has been an increasing trend for Canada’s financial services firms, and 2020 greatly accelerated those efforts as companies moved to a remote working environment,” said Michael Dignam, president of Canadian securities processing solutions at Broadridge, in a release.
Many executives felt positive about how their companies have changed their digital strategies, despite the accelerated timeline.
For example, 29% of respondents described their transformation as accomplished, compared with 11% who said the same in 2019. Meanwhile, 44% of respondents expressed optimism about their digital strategy, a slight decline from 49% in 2019.
Yet, while firms’ digital plans are developing quickly, there are still plenty of hurdles for executives and their teams to overcome. According to Broadridge, 77% of respondents said legacy technology was the biggest issue in implementing a digital strategy, up from 73% in 2019.
Other hurdles mentioned by executives included resources (69%), data analytics (56%) and executive sponsorship (29%).
Moving forward, 51% of executives believed cloud technology will have the biggest impact on their business in the coming year, compared with 41% who said the same last year.
Only 34% had the same expectation for artificial intelligence in the coming year, compared with 50% in 2019. Meanwhile, 15% of respondents said Blockchain would have the biggest impact on their business, up from 9% who said so in 2019.
This is the third year in which Broadridge has surveyed Canadian financial executives about digital transformation. The survey includes 118 participants and was conducted via email.