The financial services industry has been facing new challenges in recent years in terms of transformation and innovation. With the objective of seizing new opportunities and responding effectively to market expectations, the Group has put together a Digital Agenda which is an essential pillar in the strategic developments envisaged by the new Plan, and provides for an organic transformation process that will operate vertically within the business divisions, and cross-divisionally across shared areas such as people and technology platforms. These are the foundations on which the Group’s distinctive positioning will be consolidated.
The initiatives envisaged in the three-year roadmap aim to significantly upgrade the Group’s technology ecosystem, through non-linear development of distinctive solutions compared to those of the market and through the transformation of the existing systems. The adoption of innovative paradigms, such as Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing, and partnering with some of the leading national and international market players, such as bigtechs and fintechs, will be central to the IT strategy, as a driver to accelerate the innovation projects included in the Plan itself.
The strong digital acceleration will serve primarily to enhance the Group’s offering versus its clients (products and channels), through innovative solutions that will enable a more effective and consistent customer journey across all channels.
A substantial portion of the investments will be earmarked for developing digital platforms to support the salesforce and operations units.
The adoption of automation and AI solutions will enable the efficiency and scalability of commercial activity to be maximized, while at the same time reducing the cost to serve. For the WM Division in particular, the development of a digital platform harmonized at Group level will be completed. This, by adopting new technologies and disruptive approaches, will maximize synergies between the divisions and make the investments more effective.
To enable and support the strong digital push effectively, the Plan also envisages cross-divisional initiatives to accelerate the systematic adoption of cloud computing solutions, and to strengthen the measures and solutions put in place to bolster cyber-security. Among the cross-divisional initiatives, particular importance has been placed on the One Data Platform programme, which aims to develop the Group’s data architecture with a view to unlocking maximum value from business data and enhancing the predictive and real-time analytics capability, while at the same time streamlining the governance processes.
In line with the strategic role assigned to technology in the Group’s development, significant investments will also be made in people, in the knowledge that the human factor can play a key role in the Group’s transformation and innovation process. In particular technology capabilities will be bolstered in the IT units through up-skilling and re-skilling processes and by hiring new talent (an increase of around 15% is expected over the three-year time horizon), to foster internalization of higher value added activities, and ensure effective coverage of highly innovative areas (digitalization, AI, data science and cloud computing).
The IT Strategic Plan consists of around 25 transformation programmes, comprising more than 300 projects, and involving a total investment of €230m over a three-year time horizon, an increase of 25% compared to the previous Plan (annual average).