Few would argue that artificial intelligence (AI) is making a considerable impact on many elements of Financial Services (FS), it’s computing power and automation helping to improve the overall customer experience and to extract incredible insight from big data held by FS companies. Below Dr. Dorian Selz, Co-Founder and CEO of Squirro, delves into a discussion about the keys augmented intelligence may carry in driving the future of FS.

As with many emerging technologies it was slow to hit the business mainstream, but that too is changing. Squirro recently conducted research into tier one banks’ use of AI, and it revealed that 83% have evaluated AI and more than two-thirds are already using it.

But for some people in finance, the words ‘artificial intelligence’ can signify fear just as much as they can opportunity. For all the potential of AI, there is a perception that jobs might be threatened as machines take over roles previously carried out by humans.

The idea that AI might facilitate a wholesale replacement of humans is fanciful at best. But perhaps it is time to talk about augmented intelligence instead, a technology intended to enhance human intelligence and one that is central to the future success of the financial services sector.

A human / machine collaboration

If artificial intelligence is the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans, augmented intelligence is essentially people and machines working together. This is a partnership that will see the augmentation and extension of human decision making, addressing specific challenges within FS and helping to deliver new and smarter services to customers that will encourage loyalty and improve the bottom line.

Improving the personal touch – much of FS – particularly corporate FS such as investment banking and real estate - is still heavily based on personal relationships. Account handlers speak to their clients and are expected to know about that client’s industry and be able to present them with strong opportunities for investment and growth.

That’s no a small undertaking, but augmented intelligence makes it much more straight forward. Augmented intelligence-based platforms are powerful at gathering data (both structured and unstructured) from across disparate and siloed systems and presenting that data in a form that gives account handlers a complete 360-degree view of each and every customer.

Because it can factor it so many disparate sources of data, users are then incredibly well-informed on what is happening in an industry that will affect that client, and what the opportunities are. They can retain the personal touch that is still so important in FS, but can now do so more informed than ever when speaking to clients

Deeper insight – the insight delivered by augmented intelligence is far deeper than what has previously been available to FS organisations. Because it is capable of managing and analysing so much data, the insight extracted from that data and then presented to the user is deeper and greater than anything previously possible.

Impact on the bottom line – the data insight generated by augmented intelligence can help FS firms greatly with their lead generation, not only identifying opportunities for clients but recommending the best product or solution for them.

Augmented intelligence solutions will look at data on competitors, partners and markets and identify catalysts that provide additional upsell or cross-sell opportunities to existing clients, and fresh approaches to prospective clients. In a competitive FS world, this is of the highest value.

The past decade has been a challenging one for FS organisations, with stiff competition from agile startups offering new and more effective services and a superior overall experience. Yet the emergence of augmented intelligence is a lifeline for the industry. It enables greater customer understanding and means FS providers can re-establish their market position, and augmented intelligence will be a key technology in FS for years to come.