By Darren Hunt, Head of Strategic Industries,SAP
Most of us have pretty clear expectations from our bank. We expect a safe place to store and invest our savings and we want access to good-value loans and mortgages. But what if your bank could help you move house? Suggest the best neighbourhoods to buy in and get you the best deals on home and contents insurance? What if your bank was also your financial consultant?
Driven by competition from agile financial start-ups and powered by intelligent technology, established banks are leveraging their security expertise and data intelligence to diversify their offerings and future-proof their business.
This was the picture painted by hundreds of senior bankers, insurers, fintech, insurtech executives and technology providers at the recent SAP FSI Forum in London. The event examined how technologies like AI, machine learning, analytics, blockchain, open APIs and the cloud are being used to deliver truly digitised financial services.
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During the event, three key trends emerged as having a profound impact on the banking industry. They include the diversification of banking services, the transformative power of advanced technology and the influence of connected consumers.
Diversification – Going Beyond Banking
The shift of banks into cross-selling consultants is already underway. In Germany, for example, one bank is helping customers save money by providing detailed analysis of their cash flows. Using machine learning and big data analytics, the bank runs a platform that pools together all customer outgoings on their various payment methods, including their current account and credit cards. It presents the data in real-time to the customer via an app, which is easy to read and simple to use. Not only can customers view their spending information, the app suggests ways that they can save –picking up on spending habits to make intelligent suggestions for alternative providers and products.
This new wave of hyper-connectivity depends on powerful technology. Today’s large-scale in-memory computing enables massive simplification – turning raw data into actionable insight in minutes, versus hours or days – a prerequisite for seizing new business opportunities.
Transformation – Banking in the Cloud
Powered by growing hyper-connectivity, cloud computing is truly taking the financial industry to the next level. The digital bank of the future will be able to anticipate customer needs and assess risks in real time. Cloud computing will speed up time to value for new banking business models and drive faster adoption of new technologies. It’s the key enabler for the digital future and allows banks to save money, which can instead be invested into innovation.
Through cloud computing, today’s banks are now turning to machine learning, the Internet of Things, analytics and blockchain technology to help customers identify and solve tough business challenges and improve customer service.
One example of this is SAP Leonardo, which turns data into customer insights–improving both product and service offerings, and ultimately bettering the customer experience. For example, a customer who spends £100 a month on a specialised insurance product could save £50 a month by switching to another provider. By suggesting a different product and facilitating the switch, the bank will save money and time for the customer, galvanising their loyalty.
Influence – Connecting and Engaging Customers
The proliferation of smarter, always-connected devices is enabling banks to offer smarter banking products that are reshaping value chains and redefining banking. Proximity-enabled technology creates new forms of customer engagement in customer servicing, machine-to-machine payments and loyalty programmes.
Banks and their platforms will become a channel for other providers to sell products on, becoming integrated e-commerce solutions. In fact, the ability to predict customer needs and deliver more tailored experiences will make the difference between those that succeed and flourish in the digital world and those that lag behind.
The coming years are going to be game changers in the financial services industry. Banks need to open up their ecosystem and collaborate with FSI and non FSI companies, to offer tangible, intelligent services and products to customers, when and where they need them. The bank of the future goes beyond banking – it will be a holistic financial solution, helping customers to manage their money, and their lives, in real-time.