“It's now or never: You need to prepare now for the future of financial services.”
New technologies are disrupting every sector, but nowhere is this more the case than in the Financial Services Industry (FSI) where banks are using digital innovations to transform their operations. The industry is entering a new phase where the fundamental nature of computing is changing, and it's vital that FSI businesses act now to keep up with this shift.
With neuromorphic and edge computing already on the scene, and quantum computing approaching, technology is evolving at a rapid pace, delivering new business opportunities along the way. Intel's Corporate Strategy office recently identified the six primary forces that will shape computing over the next 3-5 years. Read on to find out what these are what they mean for the financial services industry in the coming months…
Data Feeds the World
As data continues to grow at an exponential rate, it is becoming the number one resource that is driving the digital era. In short, data feeds the world. "Businesses need to design for the growth of unstructured data," said Mike Blalock, General Manager, Financial Services Industry at Intel.
"We're seeing a shift from a people-based data ecosystem to a machine-based data ecosystem, which is creating an explosion of data. This is nothing new for FSI because it's a data-driven industry by nature. But what we're seeing is an incredible shift from looking only at internal or proprietary information to bringing in external or alternative data. The challenge is to determine how to use this shift to deliver new services and provide value in new ways while also balancing privacy and security."
In addition to compute, the movement and storage of data is becoming increasingly critical. So far, only a tiny fraction of the vast amounts of data created are being used to gain insights so there is still a huge opportunity for FSI businesses to unlock its full potential. Developing a robust, global enterprise data platform to handle real-time and streaming data is absolutely paramount. For example, Spanish bank BBVA* recently developed its Global Data Platform to give it the necessary analytics framework to understand its customers better.
Rise of Intelligent Systems
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being given increasing levels of autonomy over various aspects of our lives, making more and more decisions based on data. "This raises a lot of concerns about value systems and privacy. As AI becomes increasingly unsupervised and self-learning, the human-machine interaction is being redefined," said Blalock. "As they develop over time, intelligent machines will gradually earn more trust.”
While its influence is increasing at pace, AI is still very much in its early stages. To enable AI to develop further, transparency and trust must be ensured. Alongside technological developments, a regulatory framework will be needed to build an ecosystem where intelligent machines can earn the necessary trust over time. BBVA* has already used its Global Data Platform combined with AI to target customers through their phones, leading to a nine fold boost in digital sales.1
Heterogenous Disaggregated Computing & Intelligent Networking
The next two forces shaping the future of computing go hand in hand. The world is being connected by billions of smart devices creating huge amounts of data which needs to be stored and analyzed. To address this, new and diverse platforms are going to emerge that enable end-to-end systems. This will form part of a new era of diverse, separated computing and the rise of the intelligent edge.
"This is going to be critical," said Blalock. "There's a growing need for this physical distribution of compute and storage across a continuum. Bandwidth, latency, and security are driving the demand for compute at the edge, near where the data is created. We'll see more and more of this in future as we expand the types of data that are being looked at". In addition, diverse architectures will continue to evolve for the optimum processing of data and Intel is developing tools like OneAPI to support this future state. See link for press.
Risk Changes Behavior
As businesses increasingly rely on hyper-connected computing, the amount of attack surfaces is increasing, leading to a rise in vulnerability. In this way, risk is changing behavior, as organizations are forced to adapt. The financial services industry already deals with risk and regulation on a wide scale, but the rise of connected computing adds more complexity. "The reaction will differ depending on geography but we expect a more cautious approach to how this risk is handled and manifested," said Blalock. "We'll see different trade-offs for risk and return on both sides of the equation as attackers will increasingly be targeting data. We'll see AI growing in its relevance as a way to respond to threats and more digital ethics privacy concerns and regulation."
There are various ways of dealing with risk and privacy protection and banks are well placed to lead the charge. As a sector used to dealing with risk on a large scale, the financial industry will be able to build on its existing capabilities in order to combat cyber-crime and potentially provide new services around digital trust and risk for their customers.
Value Chains Become Value Networks
As digital technologies help businesses to evolve their operations, the entire value chain will be completely redesigned. "This is already happening to a large extent," said Blalock. "We're seeing business models shift away from traditional linear value chains to multi-sided platforms. Digital ecosystems are becoming a new bedrock of value creation. The ability to digitize and effectively outsource activities along the value chains will drive a lot of opportunities. But this can also be a major challenge if you have legacy infrastructure, legacy business processes and a legacy data framework in place."
In particular, digital innovation in China is set to become a driving force in how industry value chains are reshaped. With Chinese-led systems going head-to-head with those used by the rest of the world, this bifurcation is already starting to become more apparent and was a key theme at Sibos in London this year.
The six interconnected forces outlined here are set to dramatically change the near future of computing. It's essential that banks act now to ensure that they have the digital infrastructure to fully leverage data. By focusing on their unique strengths, financial organizations have a huge opportunity to drive more value around data. "It's now or never: you need to prepare now for the future of financial services," said Blalock. "Having and executing a data-driven plan for the future is absolutely vital to leveraging these future forces."
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