Banking execs challenged by tech deployments in 2019 – FST survey


Executives from Australia’s top banking institutions have expressed unease over their impending technology deployments, with a clear majority of surveyed delegates rating it as their biggest challenge for 2019.

In a survey of 73 executives and banking industry chiefs registered to attend our upcoming Banking Summit – including representatives from the big four (CBA, Westpac, ANZ, NAB), Macquarie, The Bank of Queensland, and ING – more than half (51 per cent) rated technology implementation as the foremost disruptive challenge for banks in the year ahead.

The result comes as pressure mounts on banks to overhaul legacy infrastructure in preparation for a disruptive wave of cognitive computing innovations, including artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and machine learning, as well as the increasing demand for data analytics capabilities and customer personalisation platforms.

What is more, potential concerns around the stability of the global economy may put pressure on digital leaders to sideline large-scale infrastructure projects.

Despite the growing threat posed by fintechs, big techs, and other emerging industry challengers, a little over one in 10 (13 per cent) respondents from incumbent institutions saw industry rivals as a challenge warranting concern.

With customer centricity long-considered the guiding philosophy of financial services organisations, it perhaps comes as little surprise that customer experience (CX) was rated as the most in-demand discussion point for banking executives.

A clear plurality (16 per cent) voted CX as the number one topic of interest for attendees at the upcoming Summit, with delegates expressing a keen interest to explore innovations and associated technological developments in the customer journey.

The clear interest in customer-centred innovation was echoed in delegates’ stated investment priorities, with nearly one in five (19 per cent) declaring it a primary investment channel for the year ahead – a 50 per cent jump on the previous year’s spend.

Similarly, respondents expect to see a 25 per cent jump in investments for digital channels this financial year compared to last.  

Revealing a clear impetus to make use of FSI’s rapidly accumulating data stocks, delegates also showed considerable interest in expanding the discussion on data and analytics (15 per cent), AI and automation technologies (14 per cent), and open APIs (12 per cent).

Curiously, despite the revelations of the Hayne Royal Commission and the increasing compliance burden facing FSIs, less than one in 10 delegates (7 per cent) believed regulation and compliance was a top area of discussion.

However, despite the waning interest, compliance remains a critical investment priority FSIs, with nearly one in five (18 per cent) surveyed organisations (the second most highly rated priority) directing a majority of their ICT spend to enforcing regulatory strictures.

Cybersecurity, likewise, received – somewhat surprisingly – less attention from delegates, despite the growing threat posed by hackers and malicious actors and the increasing value of FSIs’ data assets; Just seven per cent rated cybersecurity as a key area of interest for the Summit discussion.

Potential for growth

In a concerted push to increase the productive potential of technology implementations, nearly half of all surveyed executives (45 per cent) said their biggest growth opportunities could be gained through increasing process efficiencies.

While many FSIs have sought to transition from product innovations to customer service innovations, more than one in five (22 per cent) executives revealed that new product development will continue to deliver the biggest growth opportunities for FSIs in the coming year.

The FST Banking Summit attendee questionnaire surveyed 73 Australian banking executives on key technology trends, including top industry challenges, business growth opportunities, and investment priorities, as well as topics of interest at the event.


FST Media is proud to host the Banking Summit, Sydney on 2 May 2019. Click here to view the Summit agenda and key discussion points for the day. We look forward to seeing you there!