Financial Services Held Back by Soaring IT Complexity - Part 2
August 26, 2021

Gregg Ostrowski

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Start with: Financial Services Held Back by Soaring IT Complexity - Part 1

Technologists Under Intense Pressure

After more than a year of accelerated innovation, and without the tools and insights to effectively manage technology performance, many IT departments are struggling. The Agents of Transformation 2021 research brought home exactly how hard the last 12 months have hit technologists. The vast majority say they feel under intense pressure, are working longer hours and now have difficulty switching off from work, constantly worried about making a costly mistake.

Technologists in financial services are no strangers to working under pressure and have long understood the importance of delivering seamless digital experiences to customers. But over the last year, the stakes have risen to a whole new level. Technology performance and innovation have taken on another level of importance, enabling millions of people to access savings, loans and support during the most uncertain and worrying period of our lifetime.

Take retail banking for example, where almost overnight, banks had to ensure the smooth processing of millions of new government payments to workers and businesses. They've also had to protect customers, particularly the most vulnerable groups in our society, from new and increased threats of fraud and cybercrime, and implemented new lending capabilities to handle the heavy increase in loan applications from small businesses.

Unfortunately, not all are able to keep up — according to a Contrast Security report, financial services institutions are losing millions of dollars and countless hours of time, with only 25% of organizations able to successfully triage security alerts, and an overwhelming 98% have had more than three successful cyberattacks in the last 12 months.

Each of these new market dynamics, and every surge in demand, represents a major IT challenge that technologists have had to solve in real-time, aware that millions of people are dependent on them getting it right.

Technologists Primed for More Innovation but They Need the Right Tools

Technologists had no time to prepare for this once-in-a-lifetime challenge, and to make things even more difficult, they've typically been managing IT performance and collaborating with their teams while working remotely. It's little wonder that the IT department has become such a pressure cooker in most financial services organizations.

Despite ongoing challenges and high-pressure environments, technologists in financial services remain motivated and enthusiastic about the year ahead. They consider the next 12 months as a defining moment for them professionally and a chance to make their mark.

Unfortunately, many feel held back in their efforts to drive innovation, unable to maximize the impact of digital transformation and create their own legacy. 81% feel that they are being hindered in their efforts to perform at a higher level because they are unable to connect IT performance with business outcomes. Shockingly, for an industry that has always been at the forefront of technology innovation, this figure was higher than in any other sector analyzed in the Agents of Transformation 2021 report.

There needs to be a moment of realization for business and IT leaders in the financial services sector, and soon. They have to start providing their IT teams with the tools and insight they need to cut through complexity and data noise, and prioritize actions based on what really matters to the business. Without this, technologists won't be able to do their jobs and financial institutions risk wasting their past and future investments in digital transformation.

Gregg Ostrowski is Executive CTO at Cisco AppDynamics
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