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Aon highlights the 16 tech megatrends that are changing reward, benefits and engagement

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Aon highlights the 16 tech megatrends that are changing reward, benefits and engagement

Aon, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions (NYSE:AON), has identified 16 technology megatrends that are now impacting rewards, benefits and engagement.

The megatrends, from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain, to geo-spatial and virtual reality tech, are mapped out by Aon in a simple guide which shows how employers are embracing the technologies to support strategy and engage employees.

The 16 technology megatrends and their example uses are:

  1. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning can automate data analysis, providing complex insights to identify and learn from. AI is all about the end engagement – the bit a person sees, touches or speaks to. But this cannot be accomplished without machine learning to help create the data sets to make it work. Think of machine learning as the engine and AI as the vehicle with all the elements you interact with. With greater predictive capabilities and more personalised recommendations, it is possible to tailor health, benefit or financial options to help prevent worsening situations for employees.
  2. Automation: the rise of the bots! Automation can make the underlying system processes smarter, faster and more adaptable, while reducing risk. For example, no more manual processing of monthly files with verifications between benefits systems. It will mean less manual intervention for clients and better user experience for employees.
  3. Big data lets employers interact with huge data sets, construct more complicated strategic models and see more details and trends, to better predict next steps. It turns numbers from information to knowledge, and then to actionable insight to create strategic change. It is possible to compare multi-dimensional benefit data in real time, e.g. to understand specific demographic take-up compared with overall take-up.
  4. Blockchain. The world has been securing information with data warehousing and cloud computing, but Blockchain’s ‘distributed ledger’ brings unchangeable, unarguable and centrally verifiable data that moves with the user. This could be health history, benefit selection or recruitment files. Benefits plans will become easier to manage, with centralised records between vendors providing streamlined and faster processing for claims, for instance.
  5. Collaborative tech, crowd sharing, open source platforms are all about productivity and engagement. With collaboration in benefits, it is possible to ask employees for ideas, and understand what they want. They will be part of the solution.
  6. CX, which relates to customer experience, journey and personalisation, is all about designing with users in mind, not about pushing features. It is about knowing the people, the issues, what they want and how they expect to interact. In benefits and communications there is no one-size-fits-all solution; attitudinal segmentation and behavioural clusters help to move personalisation on from looking at demographics alone.
  7. Cyber Security must remain at the heart of all operations, now and in the future. Continual review of systems and processes help keep you and employees safe.
  8. Immersive media– virtual reality, augmented reality (AR) and 360 degree technology bring new ways to communicate and engage, providing a virtual world to remote workers, interacting and collaborating as if they are in the same room. Consider how mobiles can communicate with AR, linking everyday things to new bite size chunks of information; or deliver a benefits fair in a virtual space.
  9. Geo-spatial tech is pretty special. Sat-navs have long got us home avoiding traffic, but geo-spatial tech can help to make the most of a corporate benefit plan, perhaps saving money through discounts from a voluntary benefits plan within your surrounding area, such as meals out or finding the closest physio from a PMI scheme.
  10. Human-Computer Interaction (facial/gesture recognition, biometrics, gaze tracking) is often related to unlocking a phone or app, but really it is working in far more ways in our daily lives – from making bank payments to tracking health records at the doctor. It helps benefits engagement by stopping typical blockers like remembering URLs and passwords. Using gaze-tracking, we can see how users interact with tools and apps. From this it is possible to plan which pages of a site you want to use to push certain types of content.
  11. Internet of Things is all the things that connect to the internet, especially if they communicate with each other – wearables for example – or even smart fridges that can connect to provide nutrition advice. It is fragmented now, but over the next five years more data will be available. It means more information and more customer-centric outcomes will be created, perhaps how often someone visits certain places or if they have specific requirements.
  12. Mesh apps will bring rich and dynamic connections of people, processes and services – and with the Internet of Things (see point 11), it is possible to share more data between services. Engagement with employees may increase, as they better understand their benefits or company wellbeing approaches.
  13. Mobile/social internet lets us connect with people in seconds, and supports generational changes in communication norms. It is easier to engage employees by broadcasting a change and asking for feedback instantly. Think media players, video galleries, Facebook ‘Workplace’, web casts and live streaming.
  14. Mobile tech means that 61% of digital minutes are spent on mobile devices and 80% of that on apps (Commscore, 2017), so there is an expectation that content, features and benefits are now available in this medium. Apps remove obvious blockers of engagement, and offer native functions that mobile responsive sites cannot. App and mobile should now be considered at the forefront of a benefits offering.
  15. Proximity Tech is a booming industry. The most obvious one is contactless payments; this could be with a card, but with a smartphone the experience is a little different as they use geofencing to let people know the service is available, while using biometrics to unlock the device and Near Field Communication to tap a device and pay. This means people could use geofencing on corporate offers, say checking in at a gym as part of a health plan. Engagement, data and analytics can increase with this as they allow employers to know what people are using and how, so benefits plans align to strategic goals.
  16. Voice Assistantshelp us turn on the lights and play music, but will get even more useful. How about ‘Can I afford to put more in my pension?’ It means that benefits and HR teams should get fewer queries and a more engaged workforce.

Dom Manley, UK technology product manager of Aon, said:

“Technology can be a divisive topic, with many people becoming early adopters, and others waiting for processes to become the norm. These 16 megatrends are increasingly becoming the norm, with many early adopters already using them as part of their strategies, and others carefully watching. Either way, it’s better to know what’s coming and what’s possible as these trends will revolutionise our interactions with each other.

“The challenge remains for HR and leadership teams to create organisations that offer excellent working environments, support colleagues’ lifestyles in and outside work, and which deliver relevant and engaging benefits to attract and retain talent – but increasingly in a very different way.”

Technology

How to Build an AI Strategy that Works

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How to Build an AI Strategy that Works 1

By Michael Chalmers, MD EMEA at Contino

Six steps to boosting digital transformation through AI

In the age of artificial intelligence, the way we interact with brands and go about our work and daily lives has changed. No longer blithe buzzwords, AI tools and algorithms are solving real business problems, streamlining operations, boosting productivity, improving customer experience, and creating opportunities for advantage in a competitive marketplace.

However, many businesses struggle to unlock the full benefits that come with its adoption across the whole organisation. Making the most of AI requires a strategic focus, alignment with the specific operating model of the business, and a plan to implement it in a way that delivers real value.

Not all AI strategies are equal. To be successful, businesses need to set out how the technology will achieve objectives and identify the specific assets and case uses that will set them apart from competitors. The process of creating and delivering a successful AI strategy includes the following six essential elements that will help to bake in business success.

  1. Start with your vision and objective

One slip-up companies often make when developing an AI strategy is a failure to match the vision to the execution. Almost inevitably, this results in disjointed and complicated AI programmes that can take years to consolidate. Choosing an AI solution based on defined business objectives established at the start of a project reduces the risk of delay and failure.

As with any project or initiative, it’s crucial to align your corporate strategy with measurable goals and objectives to guide your AI deployment. Once a strategy is set and proven, its much quicker and easier to roll it out across divisions and product teams, maximising its benefits.

  1. Build a multi-disciplinary team 

AI is not an island. Multi-disciplinary teams are best placed to assess how the AI strategy can optimally serve their individual needs. Insights and inputs from web design, R&D and engineering will together ensure your plan hits objectives for key internal stakeholders.

It’s also important to recognise that with the best will and effort, the strategy might not be the perfect one first time around. Being prepared to iterate and flex the approach is a significant success factor. By fostering a culture of experimentation, your team will locate the right AI assets to form your unique competitive edge.

  1. Be selective about the problems you fix first

Selecting ‘lighthouse’ projects based on their overall goals and importance, size, likely duration, and data quality allow you to demonstrate the tangible benefits in a relatively short space of time. Not all problems can be fixed by AI, of course. But by identifying and addressing issues quickly and effectively, you can create beacons of AI capability that inspire others across the organisation.

Lighthouse projects should aim to be delivered in under eight weeks, instead of eight months. They will provide an immediate and tangible benefit for the business and your customers to be replicated elsewhere. These small wins sow the seeds of transformation that swell from the ground up, empowering small teams to grow in competency, autonomy and relatedness.

  1. Put the customer first, and measure accordingly

Customer-centricity is one of the most popular topics among today’s business leaders. Traditionally, businesses were much more product-centric than customer-centric. Somebody built products and then customers were found. Now, the customer is, and should be, at the heart of everything businesses do.

By taking a customer-centric approach, you will find that business drivers determine many technology decisions.  When creating your AI strategy, create customer centric KPIs that align with the overall corporate objectives and continually measure product execution backwards through the value chain.

  1. Share skills and expertise at scale through an ‘AI community of practice’

The journey to business-wide AI adoption is iterative and continuous. Upon successful completion of a product, the team should evolve into what’s known as an ‘AI community of practice’, which will foster AI innovation and upskill future AI teams.

In the world of rapid AI product iterations, best practices and automation are more relevant than ever. Data science is about repeatable experimentation and measured results. Suppose your AI processes can’t be repeated, and production is being done manually. In that case, data science has been reduced to a data hobby.

  1. Don’t fear failure: deploying AI is a continuous journey 

The formula for successful enterprise-wide AI adoption is nurture the idea, plan, prove, improve and then scale. Mistakes will be made, and lessons learned. This is a completely normal – and valuable – part of the process.

Lighthouse projects need to be proven to work, processes need to be streamlined and teams need to upskill. Businesses need a culture of learning and continuous improvement with people at the centre, through shorter cycles, to drive real transformation.

An experimental culture and continuous improvement, through shorter cycles, can drive real transformation. A successful AI strategy acts as a continually evolving roadmap across the different business functions (people, processes and technology) to ensure your chosen solutions are working towards your business objectives. In short, let your business goals guide your AI transformation, not the other way around.

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Iron Mountain releases 7-steps to ensure digitisation delivers long-term benefits

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Iron Mountain releases 7-steps to ensure digitisation delivers long-term benefits 2

Iron Mountain has released practical guidance to help businesses future-proof their digital journeys. The guidance is part of new research that found that 57% of European enterprise plan to revert new digital processes back to manual solutions post-pandemic.

The research revealed that 93% of respondents have accelerated digitisation during COVID-19 and 86% believe this gives them a competitive edge. However, the majority (57%) fear these changes will be short-lived and their companies will revert to original means of access post-pandemic.

“With 80% still reliant on physical data to do their job, now is a critical time to implement more robust, digital methods of accessing physical storage,” said Stuart Bernard, VP of Digital Solutions at Iron Mountain. “Doing so can enhance efficiency and deliver ROI by unlocking new value in stored data through the use of technology to mine, review and extract insight.”

Why revert?

When COVID-19 hit, companies had to think fast and adapt. Digital solutions were often taken as off-the-shelf, quick fixes – rarely the most economical or effective. But they are delivering benefits – those surveyed reported productivity gains (27%), saving time (20%), enhancing data quality (13%) and cutting costs (12%).

So what now?

The Iron Mountain study includes guidance for how to turn quick-fixes into sustained, long-term solutions. The seven-steps are designed to help businesses future-proof their digital journeys and maximize value from physical storage:

1)     Gather insights: The COVID-19 pandemic allowed organisations to test and learn. Companies should ensure these insights are fed into developing more robust solutions.

2)     Use governance as intelligence: Information governance and compliance are fundamental to data handling. But frameworks aren’t just a set of rules, they hold valuable insights that can be turned into actionable intelligence. Explore your framework to extract learnings.

3)     Understand your risk profile: A key early step is to analyse where you are most vulnerable. With data in motion and people working remotely, which records are at risk? What could be moved into the cloud? Are your vendors resilient?

4)     Focus where you will achieve greatest impact: To prioritise successfully, you need to know where you will achieve the largest impact. This involves looking beyond initial set-up costs towards the holistic benefits of digitisation, including reducing time spent on manual scanning, and the risk of compliance violations.

5)     Reach out and collaborate: We are all in this together. Your IT, security, compliance and facility management teams are all facing the same challenges. Ensure you collaborate across functions to develop robust, integrated solutions.

6)     Find a provider who can relate to your digital journey: For companies that still rely heavily on analogue solutions, digitisation can be daunting and risky. It pays to find a vendor who has been on the same journey, understands your paper processes and can guide you through the digital world.

7)     Prioritise and evolve communication and training programmes: To reap the full rewards from any digitisation initiative, thorough and continuous communication and training is critical. Encouragingly, our survey found that 81% of data handlers have received training to work digitally which is an excellent step in the right direction, but consider teams beyond data handling to truly succeed.

The research was commissioned by Iron Mountain in collaboration with Censuswide. It surveyed 1,000 data handlers among the EMEA region. It found that the departments that have digitised more due to COVID-19 include IT support (40%), customer relationship management (36%), and team resource planning (34%).

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3D Secure: Why are fraudsters still slipping through the net?

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3D Secure: Why are fraudsters still slipping through the net? 3

By Tim Ayling, VP EMEA, buguroo

There is a constant tension between keeping online payments secure, and offering an easy and frictionless user experience. Digital transformation – especially accelerated by the global pandemic – leaves consumers expecting online services to be seamless. Customers are even liable to abandon a process altogether if they encounter a hurdle.

Financial regulation and security protocols exist to help ensure that a balance is maintained between offering customers this frictionless experience, and keeping them and their funds safe from fraud attacks.

What is 3D Secure?

3D Secure is one such protocol. This payer authentication system is designed to keep card-not-present (CNP) ecommerce payments secure against online fraud. The card issuer uses 3D Secure when a card is used to pay for something online, authenticating the customer’s identity based on personal identifiers, such as the three-digit CVV code on the back of a card, as well as the device they’re using to make the payment and their geolocation or IP address.

3D Secure is important because although transactions can be accepted or denied based on the level of risk, it’s not always as clear as ‘risky’ or ‘not risky’. A small number of transactions will have an undetermined or questionable level of risk attached to them. For example, if a legitimate customer appears to be using a new device to buy goods online, or appears to be attempting to make the transaction from an irregular location. In these instances, 3D Secure provides a step-up authentication, such as asking for a one-time password (OTP).

Getting the right balance

3D Secure is a helpful protocol for card issuers, as it allows banks to comply with Strong Customer Authentication as required by EU financial regulation PSD2 as well as increase security for transactions with a higher level of risk – thereby better filtering the genuine cardholders from fraudsters.

Tim Ayling

Tim Ayling

This means that the customers themselves are better protected against fraud, and the extra security helps preserve their trust in the bank to be able to keep their money safe. At the same time, the number of legitimate customers who have their transactions denied is minimised, improving the customer’s online experience.

So why are fraudsters still slipping through the net?

Fraudsters are used to adapting to security protocols designed to stop them, and 3D Secure is no exception. The step-up authentication that is required by 3D Secure in the instance of a questionable transaction often takes the form of an OTP, a password or secret answer known only by the bank and the customer. However, there are various ways that fraudsters have devised to steal this information.

The most common way to steal passwords is through phishing attacks, where fraudsters pretend to be legitimate brands, such as banks themselves, in order to dupe customers into giving away sensitive information. Fraudsters can even replace the pop-up windows that appear to legitimate customers in the case of stepped-up authentication with their own browser windows disguised as the bank’s. Unwitting customers then enter the password or OTP and effectively hand it straight over to the fraudsters.

Even when an OTP is sent directly to a customer’s phone, fraudsters have found a way to intercept this information. They do this through something called a ‘SIM swap scam’, where they impersonate their victim and manage to get the legitimate cardholder’s number switched onto a different SIM card that they own, thereby receiving the genuine OTP in the cardholder’s place.

This is especially an issue for card issuers when taking into account the liability shift that is attached to using 3D Secure. When a transaction is authenticated using 3D Secure, the liability moves to lie with the card issuer, not the vendor or retailer. If money leaves a customer’s account and the transaction was verified by 3D Secure, but the customer says they did not authorise the transaction, the card provider becomes liable for any refunds.

How AI and Behavioral Biometrics can be used to plug the gap

Banks need to find a way to accurately block fraudsters while allowing genuine customers to complete online payments. AI can be used alongside behavioural biometrics as an additional layer of security to cover the gaps in security through continuous authentication of the customer.

Behavioural biometrics can collect and analyse data from thousands of parameters around user behaviour such as their typing speed and dynamics, or the trajectory on which they move the mouse, throughout the entire online session. AI processes are used to dynamically compare this analysis against the user’s usual online profile to identify even the smallest of anomalies, as well as against profiles of known fraudsters and typical fraudster behaviour. AI then delivers a risk score based on this information to banks in real time, enabling them to root out and block the fraudulent transactions.

As this authentication occurs invisibly, the AI technology can recognise if the customer is who they say they are – and that it isn’t a fraudster trying to input a genuine OTP they have managed to steal through phishing or SIM swapping – without adding any additional friction.

Card issuers cannot decline all questionable transactions without losing customers, while approving them without additional checks poses security issues that can result in financial losses as well as losses in customer trust. Behavioural biometrics is a foundational technology that can work simultaneously to 3D Secure to keep customers’ online payments safe from fraud while maintaining a frictionless experience and minimising the risk of chargeback liability for banks.

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