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Main technological trends in financial and banking sector

investizionnye_torgi_2 Technologies have always facilitated people’s lives but today is a crucial moment – not only technologies get involved into life, but people themselves get incorporated into technologies. They constantly change and adapt to people, improving their lives and the world.

Accenture points out the following trends in technology:

- artificial intelligence systems as a new user interface,

- ecosystems as macro space,

- market places for personnel,

- human-centered design,

- “a step into no-man’s land”

Artificial intelligence systems as a new user interface

Previously just one of backend instruments of a company, AI begin to be used as new interfaces of interaction with a human – from autonomous machines with computer vision systems to automatic translation based on neuronets. AI makes any interface both simple and smart, therefore raising the requirements to future interactions.

More than 85 percent of respondents said they are going to invest a lot in AI within the next three years.

AI can become a kind of supervisor offering to a human new opportunities according to his previous behavior (for example Spotfy which offers new music to listeners); as advisor, which not only considers previous actions, but also leads a human to an optimal way (different robot advisers); and finally as a “maestro” which learns and acts in multi channel space for necessary purposes (Amazon Alexa).

Among the respondents of Accenture research of more than 5400 managers 79 percent of them agree that AI implementation will facilitate the admission of new technologies in their companies. Up to 95 percent said that in the next three months they are going to invest in AI.

And it is no wonder since the Artificial Intelligence raise the effectiveness of line personnel. For example IPcenter introduced in one of New-York investment banks an AI for the front line engineers of technical support. This lead to faster reaction to requests (from 47 min. to 4 min.) and repair of up to 93 percent of IT failures.

AI introduction can result in the era of “hidden” technologies, since a human doesn’t need to understand complicated technological and interface solutions to cope with them. AI makes the interfaces completely ad hoc.

Ecosystems as macro space Ecosystems of platforms are the next step in the development of ecosystems already created around the companies. It is very difficult to draw together all the necessary competences. Previously one needed only to arrange a marketing company and then wait for clients. But now a new approach appears: partners’ services are added, based on an open API of a company and interaction with other partner platforms.

More than a quarter of Accenture respondents said that platforms change the value of their companies.

Platforms and integrations are at the wheel of new development. Many have heard about African mobile payment solutions like M-Pesa, which allows to use mobile wallets, but these solutions have a complicated integration. This is how Pegasus platform skyrocketed. It offers integration with providers of public utilities and serves up to 200 thousand of mobile payments for the total amount of $10 million only for electricity.

However not every company needs to create its own platform. One can use out-of-the-box solutions. It is not important who owns the platform while it attracts clients.

More than a quarter of Accenture respondents (27%) said that the platforms change the usual way of creating value of their company. Communication platforms (Telegram, WeChat and WhatsApp) and AI-agents (Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri) facilitate interaction with a client. Hyatt hotels use Facebook Messenger where their guests can book a room or a room service, while the bank Capital One has set up a plug-in for Alexa which allows the clients to check their accounts and make credit payments via voice requests.

BBVA Compass uses a clearing platform Dwolla for faster interbank payments – now they are conducted almost online (in comparison to 24-48 hours in traditional approach).

Personnel Market places New goals, which coincide with partners’ goals, quickly lead to new requirements to personnel. And this results in demand for new platforms of labor force on request and online systems of working process management.

100 companies from the Fortune 500 list use Upwork for hiring personnel for special projects.

And there is nothing hipsterish – today one of the largest companies in content-management Automatic (CMS WordPress, share capital more than $1 billion, 25 percent of world content-management market) [KG2] works with a totally distributed team – all 450 employees are distributed among 45 countries and divided into teams of 2-20 without a traditional management unit. MasterCard and WorldBank on a regular basis use Gigster platform to work with freelancers.

Proctor & Gamble has completed a pilot project with a freelance-exchange Upwork with promising effect – in 60 percent of cases the results were achieved faster and cheaper than with traditional personnel. More over 100 companies from the Fortune 500 list use Upwork for hiring workesr for special projects and tasks on request.

Human-centered design

Today technology widens the spread of effectiveness in cooperation between a human and a machine, and records of individual behavior could raise not only the quality of user experience but also the effectiveness of technological solutions. This will transform the usual personalized relations into something more valuable – partnership. Functional abilities are not enough to become popular on the market, and companies have to consider human’s behavior.

Thus the financial company Betterment assists investors in achieving long-term goals by analyzing their behavior and responding to it. One of the ways to decrease the influence of investor’s behavior is to cover up the portfolio activity during the day – this decreases losses from investor’s rush about state of flux. Instead the cabinet aims at as few decisions as possible, all of them with long-term perspective. Bettrement assists its clients to set the goals, follow them and make decisions to achieve them.

This approach is effective – in the last 10 years according to Morningstar report with extra rush about state of flux investors lost average 1,32% of income per year, while Betterment’s clients – only 0,31%. Such results lead to stronger loyalty, and $5 billion of managed assets make Betterment a leader of the market of automated investments.

“A step into no-man’s land”

“Digitality” changes everything – from technological standards to ethical norms and legislation. Only one thing remains stable – the awareness that the rules of the game are not firm, and the startups in digital market will have to create such rules. According to Gartner prognoses in 2020 “companies will be either the leaders of digital industry, or will be involved in the industry, created by someone else”.

Sixty five percent of IT managers believe that government control lags technological development.

More over new instruments and technologies – block-chain, smart contracts, homomorphic encryption – demand new rules. Spreading their example among the whole industry, technological leaders get sure that other market player will have to follow these rules. Besides new standards allow to get rid of (or decrease) external control. Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft are competitors in artificial intelligence systems but at the same time they work together on ethical standard of this industry in order to level down the need in external introduction of such rules, to facilitate the development of innovations and to protect the reputation of each market player, who already follows these rules.

Assenure research shows that 65 percent of IT managers believe that government control lags technological development and needs assistance in creating new market rules. For example in Japanese financial industry banks can own only 5-15 percent in non-financial companies. The regulator considers FinTech companies as technological and not financial organizations. Thus for example Mitsubishi UJF can’s invest in FinTech start-ups, they  have to establish their own R&D division.

This post is also available in Russian: Основные направления технологического развития финансово-банковской индустрии