Financial technology has seen significant growth over the last few years, with organisations seeking to meet customers’ growing demands for more digital and mobile services. FinTech solutions that enable anytime, anywhere and any type of transacting have definitely come a long way but there’s still room to grow.
As we start off 2017, our discussions with customers and prospects, as well as our general observations suggest a few trends for the year.
Digital customer onboarding will be a top priority
Customer onboarding remains one of the few business processes yet to be fully digitised. Some financial organisations have already tried digital onboarding with low value, high volume use cases, but we are now seeing growing interest for mobile onboarding around high value transactions – typically mediated scenarios with more complex workflows. It’s because of the emergence of onboarding platforms like e-signatures that can handle sophisticated workflows and transactions, and provide the ability to connect to popular back-end technology systems, that we are seeing the shift to automate more complex onboarding scenarios.
According to Forrester Research, “Banks like Bank of America, Royal Bank of Canada, and U.S. Bank are now digitally verifying a customer’s identity and using electronic signatures to provide an instant decision on certain retail products within minutes; they are also issuing the account number in real time.”
Cyber security will be at the heart of digital transactions
Recent high-profile data breaches have focused many financial organisations on where their weaknesses lie, especially with regard to security. Organisations are reconsidering the security around each process or transaction they are taking digital. A DDoS attack in October highlighted how fragile digital transacting can be, with security often added after a hack or breach rather than upfront.
As a result, we are going to see a shift to digital processes that is rooted in transaction security. The concept of a digital trust chain that links technologies together to provide a secure transaction from end-to-end will be at the heart of digital transformation.
Mobile-first will finally become mobile-first
Mobile technology is more ubiquitous and secure than ever, and financial organisations are hard pressed to ignore the need to provide services designed primarily with the consumer’s mobile experience in mind. That’s why this will be the year that mobile-first initiatives will actually be put first.
It’s well-documented that mobile device use is on the rise, which is fuelling the need for mobile apps – to date, there are over 5 million apps available that people rely on every day, and according to Yahoo’s Flurry Analytics, 90 percent of a consumer’s mobile time is spent in apps. This staggering statistic is the driving force behind organisations’ development of mobile apps of their websites and web applications.
For financial organisations, offering a mobile-first experience also means errors can be minimized and processes can be compressed from days to single sessions. It’s all about speed, less manual work, tighter compliance and meeting expectations for a modern experience.
Artificial Intelligence will emerge but will not dominate
In its current form, artificial intelligence offers somewhat limited applications for financial services. It can easily deal with queries such as ‘How can I make a transfer between accounts’ and ‘How long does it take to process a payment’ but more detailed queries still require human interaction. However, we can already see some of benefits AI offers, namely efficiency and a more seamless user experience. For example, Swedbank’s web assistant, Nina achieved an average of 30,000 conversations per month and first-contact resolution of 78% in its first three months. Nina can handle over 350 different customer questions and answers. As the technology evolves, AI will take on more functionalities that will broaden its scope.
The rise of artificial intelligence will likely have widespread applications in financial services in future, but for now humans or a hybrid approach between automated and mediated transactions are better designed to provide the best service in most cases, something financial services organizations should remember when considering how to invest in artificial intelligence.
A simplified approach to digital transformation
Digital transformation implies that an organization needs to undertake a massive project, which can be intimidating and a potential roadblock to starting the digitisation process. However, it doesn’t have to be so complicated – digital transformation can be as simple as digitising one process or transaction across one line of business.
The best thing financial organisations can do is choose technology for digital transformation initiatives that can be built as enterprise solutions and reused across all lines of business and processes, essentially a “build once, deploy anywhere” model. This simplified approach allows businesses to take on digital transformation at a pace that works for them.