Traditional financial services companies need to start thinking like those game-changing FinTech startups that are popping up more and more these days. KPMG’s FinTech 100 report lists the 100 top companies — including Canadian startups SecureKey, Financeit and Trulioo — are at the forefront of this profound shift in financial services. They’re riding a wave of digital disruption that’s beginning to crash down upon the entire sector. They’re small, spry, and unhindered by costly infrastructure. They’re super focused on delivering simple, digital-first customer-centric solutions with innovative and inexpensive offerings. Cost-conscious, digitally savvy smartphone users just love that kind of stuff. Most importantly, they capitalize on cloud and open-source technologies, and big data and analytics to optimize their products and services. It’s their secret sauce. And you know what? It can be yours, too. Digitizing financial services is the way of the future, and if you don’t invest in tech, your traditional financial services business could be left behind by a growing number of Canadian FinTech firms (heck, even Apple), let alone your more forward-thinking traditional competition. And they’re catching on to the trend. According to a PwC white paper on how Canadian banks are embracing the FinTech movement, FinTech is top-of-mind for Canadian financial institutions. Here are some numbers: Canadian banks are not standing still and are devising strategies and initiatives to innovate and embrace the FinTech movement. If Canada’s banks don’t keep up, they run the risk that outside competitors will bring their proven, successful offerings to Canada and slowly erode market share. In an October article, Financial Post quoted bank analyst Peter Routledge, said in a report for National Bank that “we now see all Canadian P&C banking FinTech or digital initiatives as necessary responses to a long-term and dangerous competitive threat.” In a more recent article, Financial Post also reported that Canadian adoption rates of FinTech products are projected to triple by 2017. So, investing in tech is important, but what can it really do for you? Well, tech investment will help your company get ahead of the curve. It’ll make you just as agile, customer-centric, cost effective, and able to capitalize on the cloud and data. What they do so well, and what you can do too, is unlock the power of data. For example, leveraging cloud-powered Customer Engagement Solutions can enable you to do things like: Do away with burdensome legacy IT systems to branch networks Expand into underserved markets Create complete customer profiles and financial histories Adapt and refine services based on data-driven insights Better track, identify and report on opportunities Provide nimble, omni-channel experiences to track clients across touch points (and devices) Proactively reach out to clients when needed to build stronger service connections Automate referrals and approvals for services like loans, and mortgage renewals Create granular visibility across your organization into activities like investment, lending and new customer acquisitions It really just comes down to offering great customer service — the key differentiator in financial services. The right tech investments can help you get better at attaining and retaining customers while improving your profitability and operational efficiency. That’s because on top of digital disruption, there are more conventional problems for you traditional financial services folks to worry about, like the Canadian economy. According to an article by The Motley Fool, low interest rates are compressing Canadian banks’ margins on loans. The Bank of Canada has said Canadian banks, as well as lenders and mortgage insurers, could suffer more losses due to high household debt. The energy market, of course, is a problem too. The CBC recently reported that low crude prices are taking a toll on producers, rightly raising concerns about bad loans. Here’s the good news: the rise and success of FinTech startups are just as much a product of a turbulent economy as they are disruptive digital technologies. They’re providing you a roadmap to show you where you should be investing in order to thrive in the ‘new normal.’ Remember, they’re innovative, lean AND inexpensive customer-centric offerings. So, take a page out of the FinTech playbook. Get inspired to use technology to change the way you do business. Use data and analytics to be more customer-focused, and the cloud to make your operations leaner. You’ll become more agile, cost effective, insights-driven, and you’ll be a more attractive option to tech-savvy and cost-conscious Canadians. In this changing world of financial services, success demands nothing less. Got questions? Chat with one of our representatives today, or learn more about our Microsoft Dynamics CRM products here.