Nowadays, the landscape of financial services is rapidly changing, and the central question is what comes next in the nearest future. There are lots of questions to think about. Will the blockchain technology be as significant to the future of banking as it’s predicted to be? What about the safety and reliability of the public cloud? Will cyber-attacks continue to cause worldwide panic and loss of confidence in the financial system?
In the years to come, the financial services are expected to have a positive impact on the industry by providing a more diverse range of financing options, cost savings, and improved efficiency. Guillaume Dufour, Vice President, Financial and Business Services at Dassault Systèmes, comments on the situation: “Since the 2008 global financial crisis, the financial services industry has had to reaffirm its role as a positive for society and the economy. We are seeing the industry leverage new technologies to rethink both internal operations and the client experience.”
Let’s set a five-year period as a benchmark, and see what changes in the financial sphere we can expect by 2023.
The sharing economy
According to numerous predictions, it will be introduced in every sector of the financial system. Surely, by 2023, customers will still resort to banking services, but they may not address banks to get them. And that’s the place where the so-called sharing economy steps in. It has started with taxis (Uber, Lyft, etc.), and hotel (Airbnb, FlipKey, etc.) but financial services will follow this paradigm as well. In this particular case, the sharing economy refers to decentralized asset ownership and using information technology to find well-organized matches between capital providers and its clients, rather than addressing a bank as an intermediary.
The blockchain technology
Financial professionals rest assured: the blockchain technology is set to transform banking and financial services in a fundamental way. The topic remains hot: for instance, in 2017 alone, 13 blockchain-based companies obtained over $365 million in funding.
This much-hyped technology decentralizes financial management from a central authority to a widespread network of personal computers. Financial transactions are turned into encrypted packets, or so-called “blocks,” which are then added to the “chain” of computer code and encrypted for enhanced cybersecurity. Because the technology has the potential to improve numerous facets of banking — and is the basis for other banking technology trends like bitcoin — it’s no longer a question of if the blockchain will change the banking industry, but when. 2023 seems to be the right time.
As of today, the majority of financial institutions are using cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications for conducting their secondary business processes, such as CRM, HR and financial accounting. They also use SaaS apps for point solutions on the fringes of their operations, like security analytics and KYC verification among others. However, the scenery changes as applications continually improve. As a result, the members of top management are getting used to arrangements, and the technology influences the way that their primary activities are processed. By 2023, core service infrastructures in areas such as consumer payments, credit scoring, and statements and billings for asset managers’ basic current account functions will be well on the way to becoming utilities.
Cyber-security and IoT
According to the article from Bloomberg News, the Federal Reserve suffered from more than 50 breaches between 2011 and 2015. This way, cyber-security is (and will be) one of the top risks financial institutions are exposed to. The expected growth of IoT in the financial sphere comes with a new set of security risks and challenges which require serious attention and efforts. Some industry sources predict the number of IoT devices worldwide reach whopping 25 billion by 2020. Until recently, IoT applications in financial services have primarily occurred in payments, insurance and banking. Nowadays, banks are forming partnerships with wearable technology providers (we’ll talk about that in the next paragraph) which allows their clients to make mobile payments via watches or fitness trackers. This way, cyber-security is the challenge number one when it comes to the adoption of IoT technology because insecure interfaces significantly increase the risk of unauthorized access even though financial software developers are addressing these issues professionally.
When talking about the future of customer experience in the retail banking sector, wearables such as smartwatches are mentioned fairly often. For instance, banks may be using Bluetooth beacons to send personal greetings to customers’ smartwatches when they enter a bank building. Another type of wearable might be smart glasses which could process customer banking information for the employee while he or she is simultaneously doing other customer service tasks.
In a nutshell, consumer behavior and smart device trends are guiding the banking technology in the direction of convenience. An increasing number of remote technologies will allow you to interact with your bank right from the palm of your hand. No matter if you’re using your email inbox or visiting a banking institution, you can expect new customer experience, perhaps even sooner than 2023. At least, let’s hope so.