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***Update***: as noted at the end of this blog, the session replays are now available here

Welcome to London and the Grange St. Paul’s Hotel…vicariously, if you were not in attendance! The venue is packed with 450+ senior business, operations and IT decision makers and industry leaders from banking and insurance firms, press and analysts. All registrants have gathered for the fifth annual SAP Financial Services Forum flagship event. The turnout for the two day forum includes 19 press and analyst registrants, 14 sponsoring partners, and 29 speakers from leading organizations, including Aviva, Citibank, Deloitte, IBM and Twitter. A strong focus has been placed on the many challenges, and opportunities, brought forth by digital transformation within financial services. This was a great start to the event, so let’s review the Day 1 highlights


First off, Ross Wainwright, Global Head of Financial Services, SAP, kicked things off with his presentation addressing digital transformation and innovation in financial services. He explained that digital innovation represents not only an opportunity, but also a necessity, to remain competitive in today's market. Adoption of digital technologies is essential for creating a sustainable business model, generating new revenue streams and establishing a unique customer experience.  Since digital markets move more quickly than traditional markets, they require the agility and the ability to respond to challenges and opportunities faster than business models of the past. Following Ross, some of the other interactive presentations included:

RBS- Kevin Hanley, (Director of Design, RBS) discussed the imperative of investing in innovation to drive digital change. He cited great examples of innovation, such as the world’s largest taxi company which owns no vehicles (Uber) and the world’s most popular media content owner that creates no content (Facebook). His focus on why innovation matters included making it easier and quicker for customers to do business with RBS by simplifying their business processes and systems. He noted that to become more innovative, companies need to closely evaluate their approach to change, attitude to risk, and how to encourage a more collaborative, trusting environment. This was quite a thought-provoking session.

Twitter- Seth McGuire (Sr. Business Devl. Manager, Data Channels, Twitter) spoke about how ‘new data’ is driving better business decisions. His presentation covered the fact that ‘new data’ is unstructured data – raw data requiring deep aggregate analysis. The importance of this unstructured data is that it becomes an aggregate view of individuals’ behaviors and opinions regarding business, technology, news, politics and more. Acting on insights from this data can impact marketing, operations, finance, sales and customer service, to name just a few. Finally, as a compelling example of the power of Twitter, Seth shared the fact that Elon Musk created nearly $1 billion in value for Tesla with a single tweet on March 30, 2015. Impressive!     

The afternoon offered the attendees two tracks focused on digital change and innovation. The first track was a foundational one which explained how to build a sustainable platform for digital delivery. The second track was a strategic one that covered how financial services firms can effectively foster innovation and agility, as well as seamlessly creating a customer journey across channel borders. The sessions were lively, interactive, and very informative. The wrap-up session by Stacey Allaster, (Chairman and CEO, Women’s Tennis Association) offered a view of data in action. Her focus was on the way that real-time data analytics are transforming women’s tennis today, as well as the fan experience.  


Day 1 of the SAP Financial Services Forum  delivered on its commitment to provide high-level discussions, strategy setting and networking opportunities. Watch for tomorrow’s update of Day 2.

If you couldn’t attend the forum, the session replays will be available shortly.