Market Challenges Creating a New Focus
In the current, uncertain market environment, Investment Banks are facing tougher competition, reduced fees and margins and regulatory pressures whilst needing to reassess how to drive a differentiated client engagement with better banker productivity. An increased focus on the front office is due to four factors:
- Need for a differentiated client experience - Following a significant spend on regulatory requirements, Investment Banks are re-defining how to drive revenues through a better, more connected client experience. This includes refining how better, real-time access to client and third party data can drive more insightful conversations and connecting this insight to action within CRM. Consideration of how key client engagement tools, including pitch books can be both automated and transformed, moving from static PowerPoint to interactive decks and virtual labs to bring pitches to life is also topical.
- User experience - Current front office applications are, for the most part, not working for bankers. Technology has been developed by technology primarily for operations, resulting in important user features being missed (including simple features like task automation and search), whilst usability tends to be at the bottom of the list of “must haves”, resulting in poor user adoption. This low adoption results both in experienced bankers lacking proper tools to be effective in the market, but also means that bankers start to work “off grid” on Outlook or Excel, resulting in a loss of critical insight for the Banks to drive a more effective, targeted client focus.
- Employee experience - The largest impacted banker group of poor user experience tends to be the analysts and junior bankers who expect better and more collaborative tools to drive activity that can often be repetitive; specifically for projects task allocation and pitch book creation significantly impacting their productivity. A tech-savvy generation of Analysts and Associates look for digital enablement in their day-to-day jobs that matches their personal experiences outside of work. Faced with excessive administration from poorly connected and manual tools, this burden compounds churn at grades that are critical for longer term Investment Banking success.
- Move to “off the shelf” - Technology used in the front office tends to include a suite of legacy platforms built or acquired over the years with numerous, specific applications that are costly to maintain, difficult to understand and hard to sustain. It isn’t unusual for banks to have 30+ applications providing information for, and enabling workflows around contact, client and opportunity management and KYC. This legacy technology is increasingly problematic due to the poor employee experience it drives, but is also limiting banks’ ability to drive innovation quickly, due to the lack of APIs connecting into applications for automation, client life cycle management and analytics.
“It’s a myth that bankers are not digital natives… it’s just that the technology we are being asked to use in the workplace does not deliver the same consumer grade experience we expect from our personal usage… simple, easy to use and value add.”
Regional Banking Lead
Salesforce as an Enabler of Digital Transformation
As Investment Banks start the journey of digital transformation, Salesforce is increasing being considered as the core enabler for client management in the front office, becoming the “hub” for managing clients throughout the client lifecycle. This has been driven by:
Proven capability to deliver within the Banking environment - Salesforce has built an impressive footprint within the Banking space over the past five years, building from its early presence in Retail, Corporate Banking and Asset Management. This has resulted both in better functionality aimed at financial services organisations, and also a rich ecosystem of apps, developed by Independent Software Vendors and available through the AppExchange which accelerate development of IB requirements including call reports, tear sheets and analytics. There has been a noticeable shift to Investment Banking, where requirements are more complex particularly relating to visibility models to manage public/private requirements and wall crossing, integrating to highly customised, in-house systems. Those requirements have proven to be achievable through the Salesforce platform with targeted customisation to meet regulatory requirements, and user experience demands including mobile, automation and AI.
Ability to integrate, enabling one client view - User experience is driven by a well-designed tool, enabled by the right internal and third party data, visible at the right hierarchy level. As Salesforce has become more prevalent within Investment Banking, we are seeing a larger range of third party data feeds and fintechs integrating into Salesforce with minimal effort, while core integrations for Outlook and expense management systems becoming mainstream. As part of Salesforce’s recent Mulesoft integration, and interoperability with Informatica, Salesforce is able to address the common pain point of multiple integrations into a legacy platform, through the use of middleware.
Matching broader Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) requirements – An increasingly critical component within Investment Banking is managing the client lifecycle, from on-boarding to engagement; with a reduced number of systems which enable collaboration and the flow of data across the front, middle and back office. Closer collaboration between Salesforce and CLM tools including Fenergo means that complex process flows can be run by third party systems, but visualised and started within Salesforce, while simpler workflows for task automation can be managed through Salesforce directly.
Delivering Value-add to the Bankers
The promise of digital transformation through Salesforce must still be grounded in ensuring that the focus remains on enabling bankers to both drive a better client experience, whilst reducing the amount of admin or down-time in the office. Based on our experience of delivering Salesforce, there are several core features that should be considered as critical to drive user value:
- Mobile – Ability to access clients, contacts, opportunities information and complete call reports, reducing the amount of time spent in the office doing administrative tasks, rather than face time with clients.
- Data Insights & Visualisation –Ability to visualise and drill down into client data through user-friendly dashboards and prompts, including identifying white space in the client portfolio, and identifying where strategic clients have not had client interactions.
- Deal Workflows – The ability to automatically define mandatory tasks at each stage of a deal to ensure the right activities are tracked and completed, with a positive impact on deal compliance
- Client tear sheet and pitch book automation – Automation and consolidation of key information within Salesforce into client tear sheets – consolidating information on clients, key meetings and opportunities into a set format and automation of key information on financials and client information for pitch books; both significantly improving banker productivity.
- “Tell me something I don’t know”- Ability to connect external information from third party data sources and feeds to existing clients and contacts to drive action, prompting interaction with different clients and contacts.
Connecting the digital consumer experience with the workplace
Delivering Salesforce without considering the implications on ways of working and culture across all grades is likely to result in failure to realise longer term benefits. Core to any programme is a change programme which is willing to challenge long established ways of working that will kill collaboration. This programme should consider:
- Collaboration - At the core of front office collaboration is sharing, where feasible of key insight across product and coverage banker teams to share drive client opportunity. This collaboration on Salesforce requires both well designed, intuitive systems but also a challenge on the culture where bankers own contacts, rather than the bank.
- Outlook/ Off-grid Working - Investment Banking remains a strong user of Outlook to manage communication, along with well-developed Excel to mimic CRM opportunity management. Engaging users across both product and coverage banking early and frequently to define information that would be useful to capture and drive value to the bankers.
- Role of Leadership – Leadership both regionally and globally are essential to drive value both in a Salesforce programme and the digital transformation of the front office. Leadership presence on Salesforce by using of pipelines as part of weekly calls, consolidated scorecards as part of performance reviews is essential in ensuring that bankers see Salesforce that is the tool to use, and the single source of truth.
Moving towards a digital transformation programme enabled by Salesforce can be daunting given the complexity of bespoke CRM tools in place, combined with likely changes required in culture and ways of working to drive banker benefits. We recommend any initial steps incorporate four components:
- The “Art of Feasible” – Working with bankers to understand the requirements missing in existing client management tools, along with critical gaps ensures an early view of what CRM 2.0 needs to deliver. Whilst this view provides a starting point, we have used the “Deloitte IB Accelerator” and the IB Feature Capability Map to facilitate “art of the feasible” sessions, to provide inspiration on what CRM can provide, benchmarked within Investment Banking through a live proof of concept.
- Architecture – Critical to moving from “as-is” architecture to Salesforce is understanding how systems interact to deliver key data and workflows for critical functionality– and what the “to-be” architecture could look like to allow access to critical data and regulatory requirements. Workshops to understand the full extent of what has been developed, what should be replaced within Salesforce, vs remain in legacy or other platforms is essential. A core component to these sessions is to also challenge how existing functionality is driving ways of working –frequently this presents ample opportunity for process simplification in what information is captured and why.
- Data and structure – Trust in CRM is driven through trust that the data presented within Salesforce is correct for each user. Whilst this is a larger topic and frequently part of a data strategy and transformation, early focus should be on understanding where the pain being felt by users is. Typically, we would expect to see three areas of focus which help to drive understanding of the amount of data cleaning and migration will be required:
- Validating how client hierarchies are structured, balancing sell-to and legal, along with how the data is maintained
- Understanding how contact and pipeline data is captured, maintained and the cleanliness of that data
- Understanding the amount of “off grid” working in Excel and Outlook
- Visibility model – Ensuring that Salesforce can handle the visibility model requirements including public/ private restrictions and visibility for projects and call reports is essential to whether Salesforce will be a viable option. Critical early on is understanding the key requirements, challenging where those requirements may be system driven and building early proof of concepts on Salesforce are important to drive confidence.
Investment Banking is in an exciting era, where the promise of data lead insight, is aligning with a greater ability to collaborate and technology can deliver on requirements. Transforming the front office, by moving to Salesforce as a “customer hub” to drive client interaction from on-boarding to managing interactions and driving insight is the first step.