Everywhere I turn, I see innovations that are proving out how different our future will be – especially in the financial services sector. All I can think about is how my customers can take advantage of these unprecedented changes.
Several trends are behind the FinTech innovation bonanza. It’s important to first baseline on these new realities, some of which affect multiple industries.
Then, let’s look at what organizations can do to harness these innovations for business gain.
Three New Realities
- The way people interact with lenders or investors is already vastly changed from prior generations. No single communication channel is enough – texting, in-app email and bot conversations are the new normal.
- Customer commitment levels are lower. Personal relationships have given way to convenience and instant gratification needs, creating less opportunity to secure banking loyalty. Feeding into this is a bustling marketplace of apps and vendors distracting customers, luring them with time-bound deals or newly priced packages.
- The nature of software has changed and can better deliver on customer needs. Offshore development teams are not always necessary for financial firms, now that off-the-shelf single-function apps, APIs, and connectors are readily available. Software delivered as a service is expected and commonplace, as mint.com and others have proven.
What remains consistent, however, is the value and potential of enterprise content.
We have all seen the stories describing information as the new gold or oil. In fact, starting with a focus on the crown jewels the first step in harnessing innovation for an enterprise.
The Urgency of Content Unification
How can companies capitalize on ample innovation and burgeoning industry transformation? Here, we will focus on a technical infrastructure step businesses can take today – content unification. Not only is this essential for future growth, but organizing content riches can also help the organization get grounded on identifying those transformation goals.
Content unification is what companies will need to determine customer needs and prescriptively orient the enterprise. Specifically, unifying several types of content in one archive:
- Historical information – Content of many vintages is likely living in applications scattered across the enterprise. Together in a single archive, this content might yield new insights. I’ll give an example in just a moment.
- Current content – Without any meta structure or information hierarchy, current content may be disconnected, making it harder for bankers to upsell or wealth managers to advise. Worse, employees may be drawing from outdated content, simply because they can’t find current interest rate documents or customer account information.
- Real-time data – Instant search and hashtag-led discussions have yielded an entirely new set of content a business can leverage. Aggregated with other content, companies may uncover new finance offerings to deliver in-the-moment to a targeted segment, location, or imminent need.
Let’s look at a related example to help envision why content in a single scalable archive is so critical.
Harnessing Innovation to Deliver Time Savings
I first heard about this innovation through Twitter, from an incubator day from Standard Bank in South Africa. I have since seen several companies addressing queuing management.
By looking at a collection of data, consolidated from multiple sources, Qber-Queue came up with a smart idea – help people stop waiting in line. Whether requesting a travel visa or getting a business license, many people found themselves spending substantial amounts of time queuing up (or standing in line, in American English).
Just like Uber made it easy to call up and use a taxi, Qber-Queue’s idea was to make it simple and painless for a patron to keep his or her place in line. The effort began by consolidating data to test out several ways to embark on a new business:
- Why are people waiting on line? To do what? (current content)?
- Was the passport office or local city license office slower in servicing constituents? (historical information)
- Is there anyone currently waiting in line who will never get service, based on the above data, and can we text them to instead secure a slot on Thursday at 7AM? (real-time data)
With useful content identified and then brought together in a single information archive, this company found and built out a great new idea!
Similarly in any financial services organization, there is wealth in content. By consolidating it now, businesses can better think through what problem they can solve for customers – both now and amidst the rapid level of innovation underway.