6 minute read 17 Mar 2021
Cropped hand holding camera lens

How technology-powered managed services can drive business transformation

By Stuart Lang

EY EMEIA Financial Services Managed Services Leader

Passionate advisor for businesses in strategy and operations. Deep experience in business transformation. Professional rugby player.

6 minute read 17 Mar 2021

As businesses rebuild in 2021, transformation and the ability to think differently are critical – managed services can be the solution.

Three questions to ask
  • How can managed services enable faster, more effective business transformation?
  • Why are businesses increasing their adoption of managed services?
  • How can businesses address deficiencies in their operating models and add value?

As financial institutions look to rebuild and recover lost ground in a post-COVID-19 world, they are exploring new ways to transform themselves, aligned with new and evolving market opportunities. However, this rebuilding work comes against a backdrop of uncertainty and significant challenge.

Banks, for example, who played a critical role in the immediate aftermath of the outbreak are operating in an environment where assets are becoming increasingly distressed and balance sheets are under growing pressure, as state intervention programs are withdrawn. At the same time, they must continue to invest in modernizing their businesses to respond to evolving risks and growth opportunities.

As well as managing cost with greater discipline, businesses must navigate more complex regulatory requirements, accelerate technology transformation and attract talent, all while ‘keeping the lights on’, delivering investor return, and planning for their future.

Managed services are, therefore, seen by many as a critical enabler of transformation towards becoming a more agile, compliant, cost-effective business. Global Research conducted in 2019 confirmed that a staggering 91% of businesses are considering managed services as a core tool in their strategy and execution.

Managed Services: What are businesses looking for?

Where old school outsourcing once helped companies take cost out, businesses now expect managed services to also add value across all elements of their business. The magic happens when deep industry expertise is combined with global reach and state-of-the-art technology. By lifting the burden where it’s heaviest, managed services can truly transform key operations, enhance performance and introduce innovation.

This frees up leaders to add more value and focus on what matters – driving growth and maintaining competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving, more complex world.

Every business chooses a unique managed services path based on their business needs and growth opportunities. However, in my experience, the main reasons they choose a managed services-enabled approach are summarized as follows:

  • They’re exploring new, more agile ways of operating:
    Successful transformation starts with having ambition for real, sustainable change. Despite volatile conditions, these businesses are not afraid to take bold moves to reshape and grow. Businesses that are ready to let managed services take on functions that are board-critical but not business-differentiating free themselves to focus on innovation and growth. 

  • They’re driving more efficient spending:
    As these businesses shift major functions such as tax, finance, risk and compliance to managed services, they’re avoiding huge upfront and fixed capital costs and instead consuming services in a flexible, on-demand way. This is also allowing them to move beyond business processes and leverage providers’ core domain expertise and technology investments to make key functions add more value to the business.

  • They’re reallocating resources to fuel innovation:
    Managed services gives businesses solutions that include secure, fast, cost-effective access to technologies such as AI, trusted intelligence and automation, sophisticated data analytics, and the technical expertise to master these – all without the big upfront costs. Technology is enabling faster, more reliable decisions that fuel smarter innovation.

  • They’re responding to the need for more efficient regulatory compliance:
    Compliance is a top priority for the businesses we’re working with and is a critical pillar in their managed services requirements. A trusted managed services provider will ensure compliance with changing industry and regulatory obligations across all operational jurisdictions, giving leaders the confidence to push forward to access those opportunities.

Businesses are looking for integrated end-to-end managed services projects, which combine technology with industry and domain expertise. Their ambition is to revolutionize non-core, but board-critical activities with easy-to-integrate solutions that lift the burden in tax, risk, compliance, finance and beyond, helping them achieve long-term value, making them more secure, more efficient and more compliant.

EY recognized by global analyst firm NelsonHall as a new global leader in managed services.

Download the full report here


As I speak to financial institutions about their future, what is clear is that they understand that going back to ‘normal’ is simply not an option. Thriving in a more complex, uncertain world requires vision in relation to how businesses transform themselves to address weakness and seize new opportunities.

Managed services is a critical enabler of transformation towards becoming a more agile, cost-effective, and successful business.

About this article

By Stuart Lang

EY EMEIA Financial Services Managed Services Leader

Passionate advisor for businesses in strategy and operations. Deep experience in business transformation. Professional rugby player.