With its truly transformative potential, Artificial Intelligence (AI) remains one of the biggest tech trends right now, and its influence is only set to grow. The technology is already being adopted across a diverse range of industry sectors and is set to have a big impact in the Financial Services Industry (FSI).
AI enables businesses to work more efficiently, get more out of their data and personalise products and services for their customers. For FSI businesses, the benefits of AI include the ability to radically improve efficiency, risk management, customer service, and regulatory compliance. Uses for AI in the financial sector include everything from customer service chatbots and fraud detection to product testing and defect resolution.
However, there are a number of challenges that FSI businesses face when it comes to adopting AI, not least the pace of change. What’s more, organisations in the financial sector are subject to stricter regulations than most other industries and are often restricted by legacy IT infrastructure and processes. Because of this, the tasks of consolidating siloed data sources and ensuring quality of data can be especially challenging.
“To unlock the full transformational power of AI, it is essential that everybody in the organisation understands and embraces the technology."
A key challenge is the potential disconnect between technologists and business leaders, according to a research paper produced for Intel by fintech news service Finextra Research. The differing skill sets and expectation of the two groups could stunt the seamless adoption of AI. However, a roundtable of industry experts put forward various ways in which these “two tribes” could be connected in order to ensure that banks are implementing AI in an effective way.
One suggestion is to implement centres of excellence to enable organisations to assemble teams with a wide range of skills. This highlights the importance of having a multifunctional team. However, it was also suggested that the term ‘centre of excellence’ could be substituted for a different term as it may sound elitist to back office workers. Any perceived divide could result in tasks being slowed down and potentially not being completed at all.
Innovation forums could also contribute to the successful adoption of AI. These involve a senior person from each part of the business, plus representatives from fintech start-ups that could help to plug any technology and skills gaps. Bringing together individuals in this way is a good way to carry out cultural change and to push innovation from the top down, suggests the research paper. To unlock the full transformational power of AI, it is essential that everybody in the organisation understands and embraces the technology. Therefore a cultural shift is needed across the entire business.”
Another essential element in combining the skills of technologists and business leaders is communication. It is vital that updates are shared across all aspects of the business, not only to spread knowledge of success but also to share failures to ensure that mistakes are not repeated elsewhere.
Ultimately, as Parviz Peiravi, Intel CTO Financial Services Industry Solutions concludes in his recent webinar, The Making of Data and Advanced Analytics Platforms: “Without the support of C-suite level executives, AI projects are probably not going to be successful. When you do have C-suite level support, AI projects are going to be more successful because there is a business need and executive support behind them to make them happen across organisations.”
AI is set to completely transform the Financial Service Industry (FSI) in the coming months and years, boosting efficiency, detecting fraud, and enabling personalisation. However, successful adoption of the technology requires strong and innovative leadership. Technologists and business leaders must work in partnership to develop long-term strategies for the implementation of AI, rather than a short-term fix.
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