Home Digital Caterpillars, Butterflies and Unicorns: Does digital leadership in banking really matter? – Accenture

Caterpillars, Butterflies and Unicorns: Does digital leadership in banking really matter? – Accenture

In 2018, we conducted extensive research to quantify the change in the banking industry structure. It showed that upwards of 33 percent of revenue growth in some markets is now migrating to new entrants—a mix of digitally-savvy challenger banks, non-bank payment institutions, credit intermediation platforms, fintechs and bigtechs. This year, our research looked more inward to explore the impact of digital transformation efforts on banks’ economic performance. Basically, we asked, does digital leadership in banking really matter? Read on.

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The promise of digital transformation is that, with the right mix of strategic focus, talent, creativity, and investment funding, the pedestrian caterpillar of the legacy bank, with its branch network, decades-old systems, and diverse customer base, can morph into a high-flying, digital-first bank. Having emerged from what is often a multi-year chrysalis stage, the hope is that this future-proofed institution can take flight via viral customer acquisition, advice-driven share of wallet gain and smart ecosystem curation to compete effectively with those other creatures in the banking menagerie: the challenger unicorns.

Last year, Accenture quantified the magnitude of disruption coming from outside the traditional retail and commercial banking industry and showed that, in many markets, the predatory threat to the slow-moving caterpillars has shifted from potential to actual, with material revenue now migrating to new entrants. While the disruption threat is now real in many markets, we still hear from many of our traditional banking clients that, although they have built their digital chrysalis, the butterfly doesn’t seem on the brink of emerging anytime soon. Instead of transformation, the lived experience of many of our clients is still diffused and fragmented change efforts where the cool kids in the innovation units butt heads with the rest of the organization and change entropy constantly drains the excitement and energy from multiple waves of their digital transformation programs.