Technology’s rapid rate of change means that financial services organisations have ever-increasing tools to help them enhance their product and service offerings than ever before. To leverage these new technologies, businesses must start with fostering a culture of innovation within their business.
PwC Chief Creative Officer Russel Howcroft in his recent address to the National Press Club highlighted that creative thinking within any organisation is a key driver of competitiveness and accelerated outcomes. It includes active investment in innovation to find new solutions to complex problems, uncover new opportunities, create new business models and build better relationships with customers. Ultimately, it’s those financial services organisations who foster innovation through adopting emerging technologies who will be best positioned to thrive.
The five emerging technologies that will drive innovation for wealth managers and financial service providers
To help financial services providers navigate their way forward, we identify five emerging technologies that will drive innovation in product and customer service in the not-too-distant future.
1) The New Payments Platform (NPP)
With the introduction of the NPP, customers’ expectations for real-time payments are rapidly increasing. Real-time payments can enable the development of innovative products and services offered to customers. With ever-increasing amounts of transaction data passed through the payment chain, it opens the opportunity for more revenue-generating products and services to be overlayed. Combined with analytics and AI tools, a new world of innovative value-add services emerges. Although significant near-term challenges exist for the implementation of NPP to the wider financial services ecosystem, it is imperative that businesses start taking action to prepare. Undertaking a strategic review of IT investment and infrastructure is vital to adapt and meet the digital transformations that are impacting payments processes, bringing real competitive advantage and efficiencies. Strategic partnerships with experienced, agile, and innovative financial technology partners will become crucial for financial services businesses to help them on this digital journey.
2) Cloud-based technologies
Most financial services organisations today seem to understand the value of cloud-based technologies. With the number of businesses adopting cloud technology growing rapidly, it’s fast becoming the enabler for fostering innovation. Take the example of a financial services organisation wanting to update its technology platform to provide a new service offering to its customers. Historically, the organisation would need weeks (even months) to build the new environment. With cloud-based technology and the flexibility and scalability it brings, this same exercise can now take as little as 20 minutes. Cloud in and of itself won’t foster innovation, but it’s a fundamental piece of infrastructure on the path to delivering meaningful customer experiences.
3) 5G mobile internet
With 5G just around the corner, its potential to redefine customer experience across industries is almost limitless. With its significantly faster network speeds, businesses will be looking to leverage the ultra-fast connectivity with new applications and technologies. In the same way that 4G helped bring about real-time video streaming tools and video sharing apps, 5G will undoubtedly enable the next generation of modern technology. In operational terms, networks will be able to reach bandwidth speed as fast as 20GB per second, and devices recognising commands up to 60 times faster. Think VR and AR experiences, 3D interactivity and complex systemic changes all happening in real-time. For financial services organisations, there will be significantly more scope to customise and deliver the most tailored customer experiences possible. Innovation will be a constant and customers will be the beneficiaries.
4) Global wireless network
Wireless networking is poised to become a gamechanger across industries. Elon Musk’s space exploration company has already begun development of a satellite-based internet connection, which would enable consumers to access high-speed connectivity from anywhere on the planet. All told, a global internet could connect an additional 3 billion users to the web. This revolutionises the competitive environment, potentially introducing foreign financial service providers to the local market. While that access flows both ways, it will be critical that financial services providers look at opportunities like this and future-proof their customer experiences against a potentially larger competitive market.
5) Humanised wealth management interfaces
We’re already starting to see a next generation level of customer service with companies like Soul Machines bringing technology to life with their development of emotionally responsive digital ‘humans’. These incredibly life-like artificial avatars have the personality and character that allow machines to talk to consumers literally face-to-face, taking customer experience to a whole new level and revolutionising the way AI, robots and machines interact with people. With real-world examples already here, this cutting-edge technology will transform how financial services providers service their customers in the future.
How will your business build innovation?
While this evolving landscape presents considerable challenges to financial service providers as they seek to keep pace with change on multiple fronts, it also brings significant opportunities for growth. Forward-thinking providers who take steps now to prepare their IT infrastructure and begin implementing the tools to innovate will be well placed to take advantage of these emerging technologies. For those who do, their transformative power cannot be underestimated. These new technologies represent the new world order in financial services – improving customer experiences, increasing efficiency and driving costs down – while ultimately setting the stage for businesses to employ the cutting edge technological innovations that are on the near horizon. Ultimately, it will be those organisations who see the longer-term opportunities to innovate and develop new business products and services, that will be the true beneficiaries of these emerging technologies.