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Most bank executives have probably experienced at least one nightmarish IT projects.

With digital projects, getting the business plan approved, the budget signed off and picking the right technology is only half the battle. Managing the project is probably the hardest task.

What does a successful digital project look like? What are its characteristics? A research report by the BearingPoint Institute published in November 2015, may provide some answers.

The report analysed 48 European banks’ attempts to digitise their business (the technology, their strategy and what they are doing well and badly) and has some useful tips.

The hallmarks of a successful digital project, according to the banks surveyed, are corporate culture, customer inclusion and good implementation.

The least important factors behind a successful project are compliance with new regulations and staff with experience in “innovation”, the research found.

How can bank executives spot signs that a digital project will fail? Watch out for lack of financial resources and staff and a reluctance to take risks.

Making a senior manager responsible for a digital project is a smart move. External factors such as competition or regulation which cannot be influenced or managed internally, may also influence whether a digital project achieves its objectives.

What do banks want their digital projects to achieve? Higher sales and lower costs are the most common objectives. Digitisation is expected to boost growth by giving customers more digital products, more efficient operations and greater market penetration.

Banks are also prioritising their digital spending by department.

Retail banking and wealth management are the top priorities for digital spending.

*BearingPoint Institute, ‘7 digital questions for banks’, TRENDS, 2015

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