Realization for change: accelerating action now in Financial Services

The results of recent research into the current state of transformation efforts in the financial services and insurance (FS&I) industries were the subject of conversation at an Atos-produced1 online event, the Atos FS&I Connected Experience Summit, on October 14. Hosted by Adrian Gregory, Global Head of FS&I at Atos, and moderated by renowned news anchor and correspondent Akhtar Khan, the event featured leading practitioners from the Atos family and important voices from partners and clients. “Realization for change: accelerating action now” painted an interesting picture of where FS&I is and, most importantly, where it’s going when it comes to transformation.

One keynote, three panels, lots of insight

The event kicked off with Adrian Gregory talking one-on-one with Dr. Mik Kersten, noted author and CEO of Tasktop. A successful serial entrepreneur, Kersten has built a framework that emphasizes an effort to measure value streams as a key to surviving and thriving in the age of digital disruption. In his work, he describes how traditional measurements are ill suited to fast paced innovation and he details how an orientation to understand flow, including making it a leading indicator, is the path to success. Provocatively, Gregory asked when it might be best to turn down or reject a customer and Kersten replied, without hesitation, that executive sponsorship at the highest levels is absolutely crucial to success. Lacking that level of commitment, success will inevitably be forever out of reach.

Keys to successful modernization

The first panel of the event focused on modernization and featured Andrew Dunmore of Maven Wave, an Atos company, Larry Gundrum of Willis Towers Watson, Jennifer Manry of VMWare, George Reichert of Enact Mortgage Services and Antony Tompkins of Verizon. Dunmore kicked things off by shooting down the perceived notion that executives are resistant to modernization, pointing to specific instances where incubators and acquisitions have had profound effects at many traditional, incumbent capital markets, banking and insurance firms. Manry concurred and emphasized that it’s often complexity that is the major challenge, one that is ultimately aided by collaborating with partners to help break the complex into bite size chunks with an eye on getting going by getting started. Tompkins continued this theme, stressing that idea of progressive transformation that is not one single thing but a constant series of steps towards change. Gundrum carried this idea further, stressing that success requires good communication, both internally and with customers, a solid platform, executive leadership and a realization that it may be a journey that lasts for years. Reichert, for his part, pointed out that competitive pressure can be a great motivator, but a strategy north star is also required to keep a true and steady course of action.

Challenges and opportunities through digitization

The second panel turned to digitization and here the message went into more detail around transformation efforts. The panelists, which included Bruno Domingues of Intel, Sally Elatta of Agility Health, Mike Greene of MFS Investment Management, Dave Seybold and I of Atos, and Laurent Verdier of Microsoft. Seybold began by pointing out that ten years of progress has occurred in the two years of the pandemic and that the ultimate measurement of digitization comes to life in experiences.

I concurred, stressing that a transformation partner can help to quantify what is valuable, bring the end-to-end value stream into focus, and then help to instrument the transformation journey. Elatta continued on this theme and discussed seven measures of agility that inform a successful digitization journey.

For his part, Verdier emphasized that efforts are more likely to come to failure if cost is the only metric and that a look at cost needs to focus on the whole of the business, not just start at the door of the data center. For Greene, the drivers are a three-legged stool of risk and security, business enablement, and both short and long-term financial considerations. Domingues pointed out that many financial services firms are justifiably cloud-first, but a careful analysis can lead to many different configurations, sometimes where the gravity of data brings it back to the data center.

The evolving role of risk and security

The final panel of the day delved into the critically important areas of risk and security as Matthieu Chouinard of Fidem, an Atos company, Bradd Lewis from Dell and IBM’s Joel Spieth tackled the challenges and opportunities for success. Chouinard pointed out just how much the CISO role has changed over the past several years with security now equally co-balanced with business enablement and innovation. Great leadership is needed to drive success, a point that Spieth hastened to add that also includes select trusted partners to drive modern governance. Ultimately, Lewis suggested that the best results are achieved when risk and security are looked at holistically in the context of the enterprise, taking a seat at the table from the very beginning of projects and initiatives instead of as a checkbox at the end of development.

Realization for change: accelerating action now

The pace and breadth of change in financial services over the last several years has been profound and there is little prospect that the future will be any more settled. Recent research from Atos looked at the state of digital transformation in financial services and found complex and sometimes contradictory forces at play, findings borne out by the expert insight and advice from the panelists at the “Realization for change: accelerating action now” online event. Change and contradictions are in the air and both internal analysis and trusted partners are needed in order to succeed.

The “Realization for change: accelerating action now” is the product of 800 interviews with leading practitioners in banking, capital markets and insurance and the current and future state of digital transformation in financial services.

Realization for change: accelerating action now

Click here to download your copy of the research:


Discover the driving forces of digital transformation for financial services and insurance

Click here to listen to the recordings of the Atos Connected Experience Summit:


View global Financial Services & Insurance leaders at our virtual Connected Experience Summit: North America

1The event was sponsored by Atos global alliance partners: Dell Technologies, IBM, VMware, Verizon, Intel and Microsoft.

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About Carol Houle
SVP, Global Head of Consulting & Marketing – Financial Services & Insurance, Atos
Leading the Financial Services and Insurance consulting and marketing team at Atos, Carol is responsible for pre-sales engineering, consulting, portfolio and marketing for the entire industry. In this role she is focused on shifting the business mix to digital transformation deals for both the Banking and Insurance industries. Our clients must close the digital deficit between what their customers expect versus what they can deliver. This trend has accelerated over the past 18 months with the changes that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought across the sector. Carol is known as a builder and renovator of strategic businesses for companies seeking to focus on holistic digital transformation that drives business value. Carol deeply cares about people and is known as a connector of people and concepts to solve business problems and to help organizations achieve their goals. Over a 25+ year career she has learned that vision is important, execution is essential. She is a change agent and believes that it is important to inspect but equally important to inspire. You must start with what people know, build on what they have, and lead them to where they need to go. Getting people to yes involves 1st understanding what they need and incorporating that into the final solution. Finally and most importantly, she believes that everything we do must be about the end client, and if it's not going to add value to our clients then we should stop doing it.

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