Financial services developers under digital pressure

With the pressure growing on financial service providers to accelerate their digital transformation efforts and deliver enhanced customer experiences in line with their digital-first competitors, industry research from Couchbase, reveals the key challenges faced by the sector’s development teams.

The findings show that 83 percent of IT leaders from banks, insurers and other financial services providers confirm there are challenges facing their development teams, including having to do too much in too little time (54 percent); and that deadlines and agility requirements were difficult to meet (30 percent). To compound this, over three-quarters (77 percent) of IT decision makers report obstacles in supporting their development teams.

“Amid the race to complete digital transformation projects in the sector, where developers must balance the security of sensitive customer data alongside expectations for remote access and seamless digital experiences, these barriers impacting developers jeopardize businesses’ progress,” said Perry Krug, Director Shared Services, Couchbase. “Firms need to recognize their reliance on developers at this time, and work to give them the right resources and support. After all, without successful digitization projects, financial services firms will fall behind the competition.”

The global survey of 650 senior IT decision makers found that despite development teams’ extensive contributions to digital transformation and innovation initiatives, a lack of resources and communication with IT leaders in the financial services sector is creating barriers for them.

Additional findings include:

•FS struggles to support development teams: The key issues IT leaders face in supporting development teams include making sure they always have the right technology (33 percent); redeploying development teams rapidly to work on new projects when needed (29 percent); and investing in new technology to make developers’ jobs easier (29%). Additionally, almost one third (30%) of respondents did not know for certain whether their development teams were behind or ahead of schedule.

•Staff commitments and project engagement: Developer teams in the sector have grown by an average of 26 percent in the last year. Bigger teams will aid some development challenges, but firms must focus on keeping their developers motivated and passionate about their projects to achieve success. This is a current challenge, as almost a quarter of IT leaders (22 percent) find it difficult to gauge whether development teams are engaged in and enthusiastic about their work, signaling waning enthusiasm or fatigue.

•Learnings from the pandemic: In a positive step, 35 percent of respondents say that the pandemic has taught them how to empower development teams. For digital transformation projects to succeed at pace, it’s crucial that financial services IT leaders continue to focus on empowering these professionals.

Without the right support, development teams in the financial services sector cannot complete digital transformation as quickly as the business may need them to. Their positive impact is demonstrated by 29 percent of respondents confirming that pressure from developers to support agile development and innovation was a driver for digital transformation projects.

“Digital ambition will fall flat for financial services providers unless they can support development teams to build great applications,” said Krug. “And in the fast-paced financial services market, firms must be proactive in addressing these challenges to ensure success in a time of product-led growth.”


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