The financial services industry, under pressure from fintechs, has turned its attention to the customer. According to research from Adobe, the industry is “catching up” on customer experience by focusing on data-driven marketing, personalisation and AI.

Senior executives are looking to “master” these strategies and then leverage the vast amounts of consumer data they have, and stand out in markets where core products and services do not differ significantly.

However, in a highly regulated industry burdened with legacy technology systems — and facing more agile competition — that prospect is easier said than done, according to a new report.

The Adobe and Econsultancy 2018 Digital Trends in Financial Services report found that the financial services industry (FSI) is under pressure from several stakeholders to meet consumer expectations which have been “raised irreversibly”.

“Our research indicates that FSI organisations are rising to this challenge, but it also reinforces the view that they still have some way to go in terms of pushing through customer experience transformation and building the data proficiencies that underpin it,” the report’s authors say.

  • Murray Howe, Adobe Head of Industry Strategy, APAC, will be discussing the research during a live webinar presented by Which-50. Register for the webinar here.

A customer imperative

Optimising the customer experience, and data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual are the most exciting opportunities for FSI organisations in 2018, according to the report. But more ambitious initiatives are in the works.

According to the report, artificial intelligence and delivering personalised experiences in real time are the most exciting prospects foreseen in three years’ time for the industry. However, these prospects remain an aspiration for many as “the fundamental, customer-led shift being undertaken by banks and other FSI players is naturally taking precedence over new-wave technologies”.

In other words, many organisations are still grappling with a customer focus before investing in the technology to deliver on it. However, leaders have emerged and one new technology — artificial intelligence — is already proving well-suited to the industry.

AI leaders

According to the Adobe study, AI is generating considerably more buzz for financial services than other new technologies like IoT, voice interfaces, and VR.

“Artificial intelligence, with its potential to power up analysis, optimisation and automation of customer communications, is of evident interest to FSI organisations that are moving down the digital transformation pathway,” according to the report.

Three in five FSI organisation plan to be using AI in the next 12 months, but just one in five are using it now. The clear major use case for AI in the industry is data analysis (43 per cent) but “sizeable minorities” — of above 20 per cent — have also emerged, including personalisation, optimisation and testing, and automated campaigns.

In line with Adobe’s existing research on overall digital trends, AI is expected to be more popular in APAC and Europe than North America for FSI organisations.

The industry faces the universal challenge of the knowledge and resources required to be able to exploit AI but the scope for prospective gains is broader in the financial services industry, according to the report.

  • Murray Howe, Adobe Head of Industry Strategy, APAC, will be discussing the research during a live webinar presented by Which-50. Register for the webinar here.

About The Author

Joseph Brookes is a writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, of which Adobe is a corporate member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.

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