By Genady Chybranov
Director, Financial Technology Innovation
The vast and constantly shifting ocean of Fintech and all that it encompasses, has seen ripples and undercurrents become indomitable swells in terms of the changes it has brought upon us recently. As our understanding of the opportunities and challenges develops, I feel that a pragmatic approach offers us the best lens through which to view the movements and progression of the Fintech sector.
When talking to customers in 2017, I noticed that conversations moved from technology-centric to solution-centric. I believe this is a result of a wider understanding of Fintech and its practical implications, as well as the businesses, technologies and methodologies it touches.
Meet customer needs in digital transformation
Customers need solutions which work well for them, that are simple to understand and which are delivered quickly. The ability of Financial Services firms to provide personalised and frictionless service – anytime, anywhere – via multiple channels is going to be flavour of the year in 2018. This is exactly how we build-in competitive advantage, show real leadership and a permanent willingness to improve.
We are seeing banks move away from paper and analogue, and focusing increasingly on digital transformation. That’s all fine of course, but they need a robust digital architecture with slick and reliable processes for this to actually happen. This in and of itself is fascinating to me, as I think I first heard the term ‘go paperless’ in 1998.
If the aim is to get closer to what customers want and accelerate digital transformation, then success requires a new template, model or approach that supports rapid change. We can bridge between traditional operations and agile innovation by centering ourselves on the critical enabler of digital transformation – Data – in all of its diverse expressions.
Operations like form filling and digital signature capturing, allow banks to capture and analyse information faster and use advanced analytics to improve the overall customer experience.
Hitachi Vantara focuses on digital outcomes. We want our customers to achieve cost efficiency and accelerate time-to-market by rethinking operations and processes, and ensuring that their data is on-point and totally available. What happens when we do this? For the client, it means increased customer loyalty and revenue growth through improved customer experiences that are based on analytics and insights.
Analytics is especially interesting because, among other things, it directly transforms video data into competitive insights. Cameras are everywhere these days and have now become Internet of Things (IoT) sensors which can provide real-time intel. But to make the most of this value, organisations need an analytics solution such as Hitachi Video Analytics.
Exploring the possibilities of developed AI
In 2017, we saw machine learning playing a major role in creating personalised products, and in 2018 I expect to see the rapid development of solutions based on artificial intelligence. Although the technology is still in its early stages, we are already seeing multiple AI use cases, like better customer targeting and segmentation or the automation of processes such as loan underwriting or chatbots.
Protection and Governance become paramount
Data governance and protection will be another key trend. Customers are now willing to share more information to receive more personalised services. However, ensuring the protection of this data is often very challenging, since it is siloed and often unstructured.
Many large financial institutions are now working on centralising information to gain a holistic view of their data and processes. As a result, access control is becoming much tighter and will become even more so in 2018.
When it comes to Data Protection, my approach is “get it done yesterday”. Old-school data protection has officially been disrupted – and one only has to think about the companies who have become massive news stories for all the wrong reasons to see why.
To become truly secure, companies need to focus on orchestrating backup, business continuity and disaster recovery within business-defined workflows. Hitachi works to simplify all of our client’s recovery challenges via a single unified platform; cutting cost, complexity and risk to meet service-level requirements with advanced data management and protection techniques.
With these three pragmatic and methodological approaches, we can begin to get our heads around the challenges facing the Fintech industry – both now and in the future. We can also put a brave foot forward, and hopefully soon walk quickly in step with a fast-changing environment.