The 2010s have been a decade of significant change, driven by technological advances which are showing little sign of slowing. Alongside this, market growth across multiple industries is being increasingly challenged by consumer behaviour. New challenges are being laid down and to remain relevant, UK businesses are facing tough decisions on how to best align to the current economic climate.
With significant change comes great opportunity. As we look forward to 2020 and the next decade, it must be an acknowledged that in spite of market challenges, it is an exciting time for businesses who are looking to use technology to drive their future success.
The Biggest Change of the Past Decade: Fast money
Currency has been used to trade in exchange for goods and services for millennia. Each evolution has been prompted by a shift in convenience. Bartering? Too variable. Bronze replicas? Too cumbersome. Metal coins? Too heavy. Paper? Too bulky.
For a long time, plastic cards seemed to have cracked the problem: easily portable, quick, convenient. Then Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, which represented a seismic cultural shift in how we go about our daily lives.
This one device enables us to stay connected and productive in so many ways, that it was inevitable it would also be the catalyst for another evolution in the story of currency. Contactless payments are designed to be seamless and convenient. One tap, and the shopper is on to their next errand. Simple.
Arguably, of all the technologies which have emerged over the last ten years, contactless payment has claim on being the most impactful on our daily lives.
Here it is worth thinking of the proverbial swan, calm and collected floating on the lake’s surface, yet paddling away under the water. The technology used to deploy, integrate and support contactless systems is complex. Layers of data and functionality are in play, with security constantly being tested, reviewed and enhanced so users can remain confident that their money is protected.
Across travel, retail, entertainment and beyond, experts are already looking for the next technology evolution in the payment space that will ensure customer experience remains paramount. In the early 2020s, we are likely to see regulation technology move into the spotlight while biometrics become mainstream.
The businesses leading the charge will be those who can ensure systems are fit for purpose, delivering a simple user interface and offering rigorously-tested security.
The Differentials to Come in the Next Decade:
- Winning the data war
Managing data in a way that combines and analyses knowledge from across global organisations is still a major challenge. Stricter data integrity and protection laws, heavy fines and lower customer trust won’t make this critical opportunity any easier to grasp.
However, those that can master big data, real-time analytics and enhanced cognitive capabilities will be better equipped to counterstrike the Fintech threat and remain relevant.
- Guaranteeing financial resilience
Since the 2008 banking crisis, regulators have forced institutions to swell their reserves in case of another crash. With the growing dependency on technology – and the potential threat of disruption from cyber terrorism, outages and data breaches – Financial Institutions (FIs) may soon need to guarantee their operational resilience too. Or they may choose to advertise resilience as a competitive advantage.
- Making use of robotics
AI assistants and humanoid robots are constantly evolving. These technology advancements are key for FIs becoming cognitive – replicating the human ability to learn and respond to the preferences of customers.
That said, there is still work to be done in convincing customers that a personalised service from a chat bot who can understand your speech, gestures and even your facial expressions is a good thing.
- Do not write off the human touch
One of the many benefits of digital transformation is its ability to automate the most routine office tasks. Undoubtedly, this upheaval will cause widescale restructuring in FIs. However, employers will still need people with the soft skills, who can create a human experience for customers and keep the brand relevant to everyday community life.
To the future
As technological advances revolutionise FIs, efforts to drive efficiencies, improve processes and overhaul supply chains will become central to delivering best-in-class customer service.
By Stephen Magennis, MD for UK Quality Business at Expleo.