Embracing business change to cope with Tomorrow's World

Change in business for 'Tomorrow's World' should be seen as invigorating and a chance to introduce new innovations

CHANGE is sometimes seen as disruptive and negative. But for companies that are confident in their products and their people, it's a chance to demonstrate their resilience and capability.

In such circumstances, the prospect of change in business should be seen as invigorating – a chance to introduce new innovations and get closer to the customers you want to serve.

Banking is a great example of an industry where technology is rapidly reshaping the nature of how we do what we do. But the lesson I have taken throughout this change is that sustainability comes from a relentless focus on understanding ‘why' you do what you do.

Having a strategic objective that is achievable, challenging and a good fit for your industry will provide your business with flexibility when the environment you're working in evolves.

At Ulster Bank we have a strong story to tell when it comes to involvement in our communities and how that will sustain what we do in the long-term. Our business came into being because of the needs of local industrialists who wanted a local bank that could serve them and that's a principle we keep in mind today.

We continually look for opportunities to engage with the local community, whether that's by hosting local events across our branch network to promote fraud awareness, or by sponsoring events like the Belfast International Homecoming, where the best of Northern Ireland's diaspora community comes together to promote the cultural and economic wellbeing of local people.

Our commitment to a culture of entrepreneurship is also evident through the Entrepreneurial Spark Hatchery for early stage businesses and entrepreneurs.

Our ambition is to build trust, and become the number one bank for customer service, trust and advocacy. There is only one way to do that and it is by being embedded in our communities.

Our Skills and Opportunities Fund, which supports organisations that help people in disadvantaged communities develop, create or access the skills and opportunities they need to help themselves, is an example of the ways in which we match words with actions and provide meaningful help to our communities.

Events such as the Responsible Business Summit are a chance to reflect and take stock, and those attending will have a chance to hear from industry experts on the importance of engagement and future-proofing your business model, as well as the returns from doing business responsibly and sustainably. Consumers are more socially conscious than ever before. No matter what industry you work in if you don't consider it you can be sure your competitors will.

Many businesses require some sort of licence or regulation to operate – from a banking perspective, there are many. But the most important licence to operate for a business comes from the customers and community that it serves, and the nuances and detail of what you need to secure that approval can only be found through ongoing dialogue.

:: Ulster Bank is the key sponsor of ‘Tomorrow's World' Responsible Business Summit at Belfast Waterfront Hall on Wednesday October 5, which is organised by Business in the Community Northern Ireland. For more information and a full list of speakers, or to book a place, visit

:: Richard Donnan is the Northern Ireland head of Ulster Bank

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