Are we ready for digital innovation to lead us forward?

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A crisis inevitably forces us to change our way of thinking, and the one we’re in the midst of now due to the global coronavirus pandemic is no different. It poses existential questions: How are we going to live our lives when the crisis is over? What importance will we give to our social relationships? How do we want to actively manage our finances, and do we trust digital innovations to take care of our money? Intelligent solutions are possible—indeed, they’re all around us—but it leads to another question: Will we decide in favor of these solutions?

How the corona crisis is changing our priorities

Today, we’ve been made to shift down a gear and objectively analyze why this crisis is having such a great impact on us. We’ve asked ourselves over and over: when will we return to our normal lives? The answer, more than likely, is never again. Since March, we’ve seen how fragile our economic system is. The international division of labor, the complex supply chains and the globalized movement of goods have all revealed weaknesses. At the same time, we also recognize the importance of our social relationships and how human values are paramount.

Learning to accept reliable digital innovations

It has become clear, too, that digital innovations have become an essential and even irreplaceable part of our daily lives. A large number of us are working in home offices, and virtual meetings are just as much a part of everyday life as joint project work in the cloud and streamed live events. We talk to our friends in every corner of the globe and share music, videos and the emotions of life with them. Indeed, technical advancements have been slowly penetrating our lives over time. Artificial intelligence and machine learning already help us make everyday decisions, whether supporting us in customer service or enabling autonomous driving. But we shouldn’t limit ourselves to the personal and professional advantages of digital innovations. Are we ready, for instance, to accept digital solutions for our investments?

Wealth management vs. “wealth being”

Now another question: What is really important? Is it a long-term investment and wealth advice as part of traditional wealth management? Or a return to what is known as “wealth being,” the notion of combining enough material satisfaction and well-being to be financially independent and happy?

Individual investment decisions are made by each person independently, with personal preferences playing as important a role as the economic landscape. Almost as important is the specific information available — such as investment capital, annual income, individual risk profile and time horizon. Professional wealth management teams of major banks have broad financial knowledge and, based on this information, recommend optimal investment strategies to their clients. A wealth manager therefore provides a service that can already be executed by an algorithm.

All variables of the optimal investment strategies can be calculated very easily, and nobody can do this better than a specially-developed program. So why do clients hesitate to implement digital solutions? The answer is that we only integrate digital innovations when we are convinced of their added value. In the current crisis, or the new normal, digital solutions are becoming not only reliable but all-purpose. Crucially, they grant us more flexibility and more independence — as well as more opportunities in all aspects of our professional and private lives. To put it simply: technology has earned our trust. So what is the next step?

The digital future as an opportunity

The next step must be one toward the future. In the past, wealth management was more concerned with “execution only” and traditional asset management, whereas today the focus is on advisory services. Robo-advisors, for example, can easily provide advice that is individually tailored to investors. While digital financial solutions in Switzerland had a turnover of around 320 million Swiss francs in 2018, in Germany they already surpassed the one billion euro mark in 2017 with an upward trend. The various stages of evolution of digital platforms, such as robo-advisors and others, are adapted to the financial needs of investors. In particular, the transparency and real-time tracking of investments are clear advantages over traditional advisors. In the near future, a hybrid model can be envisioned that combines the advantages of human counsel with the digital advances. Only then will investors be able to benefit from the synergistic effects of wealth management.

Achieving success together—with intelligent solutions

Our future is digital, whether using software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or platform-as-a-service (PaaS). Our future is to share, as it makes little sense for institutionalized wealth management departments of different banks to each develop their own software, infrastructure or platform. Our future lies in the idea that “less is more,” and that’s where Orange Business comes in. We provide investors with these very network-based solutions to meet both the individual needs of customers and corporate cost optimization. We are deciding today what the world of tomorrow will look like!

Learn how Orange can help overcome the challenges of the financial industry.

Martin Kull
Martin Kull

Martin Kull, Managing Director, Alpine and Eastern Europe at Orange Business, brings a wealth of experience and industry knowledge in digital transformation, leading IT and communication solutions, cloud software, mobility services and security. His strengths in leadership, team building, development and change, along with his focus on a strong partner eco-system, are manifested in flexible, action-oriented results. In his free time, he is an excellent cook and enjoys sailing and skiing.