Jeff Kirschner’s TED talk offers just a small insight into the transformational power of data in our society. But to get a better understanding of some of the myriad ways in which data will change the world we live in, we asked Michelle Prance, Head of Retail Banking at Capita Consulting, to enlighten us on how the banking industry in particular might change.
Michelle deems the biggest driver of change in banking to be individual customer preferences – something which is borne out in wider studies on the topic. The Economist’s Intelligence Unit found that changing customer behaviour and demands top the list of things expected to have the biggest impact on banks in the years ahead. That means consumers, wherever they are, continue to demand seamless, intuitive services in an easily understandable, accessible manner.
And yet, up until now, making this a reality has proven challenging. Banks, by their very nature, are complex entities, with immensely intricate infrastructures. Decades, even centuries, of development, have interwoven a variety of complex processes and often incompatible legacy systems, whilst mergers and acquisitions muddy the waters further. This can make technological change a real challenge for CTOs and CIOs.
But looking to the future, developments in tech make a more customer-centric banking system a real possibility. Intelligent technologies like AI, powered by an almost endless stream of data, can step in and join the dots, assembling pensions, mortgages, credit cards – and more – to create a holistic picture of financial reality for customers. In fact, 22% of global banking executives believe the most valuable use of AI will be improving the user experience through greater customer personalisation.
But why stop there? Intelligent banking holds the possibility of doing so much more than just holding and transferring cash. After all, banks are trusted entities that guard our most important data. There are many ways they can better make use of that prime position, not least by bringing certainty to some of life’s most unpredictable areas. They might even foresee problems before they happen, rapidly identifying individuals who are particularly financially vulnerable, whether that’s through exposure to financial risks or simply by not saving enough for their future.
Person-focused financial systems provide a foundation with which to look beyond ‘the now’. Data can offer a vision of life’s many possibilities, whether it’s with individual savings profiles, playthroughs of future scenarios, or bespoke consumer advice. Aggregating and analysing is the first step towards nudging, helping, and ultimately, influencing. The World Economic Forum believes that data and technology make banks more than just repositories, but respected advisers and advocates able to see us through any period of change.