A culture of innovation and creativity is one of the three imperatives for success that I highlighted in my last blog. In my opinion, it is the most important.

Many well-established brands in the Financial Service Market are so distracted by propping up legacy systems that they do not keep pace with improving technology. Nor do they have the essential focus on keeping up with the changing needs of their customers. As they spend increasing amounts of time and money propping up business-as-usual, they fail to move forward and then undoubtedly lose out to more nimble and innovative new entrants.

One of the directors of the Prudential Regulatory Authority warned earlier this year that the IT systems of UK banks were “antiquated” and that he could not say with confidence that they are robust. In my view, this warning applies equally across the Insurance industry. Indeed across the whole of Financial Services there is a huge opportunity for radical improvement.

The winners will be the companies that throw traditional thinking out of the window. The first place to start is to put large internal IT estate under the microscope. Too often internal IT has to prevent change. Not only does the majority of their resource concentrate on keeping the status quo, the remaining resource is so stretched that it is unable to implement new ideas such as agile low-cost/low-risk experimentation, the test and learn approach.

What is the solution? Instil a culture of innovation and creativity. Increase the speed of change essential for meeting customer expectations. Reduce the pressure on in-house IT Departments by recognising that external third party specialists can hold the key to new ideas and improving speed to market.

In many cases, this will seem revolutionary thinking, but revolution is what is needed. Here at Total Systems we have already started to deliver significant commercial benefits to clients who have recognised the value of taking advantage of our smart systems. We are driving down delivery times and implementing market-changing concepts with small specialised teams. Innovation is starting, but much more is needed if the Financial Service market is to escape the strangle hold of “antiquated systems”.