Accenture’s Banking Technology Vision 2017

commercial banking technologies, banking operational efficiency, artificial intelligence business banking, sales enablement banking, sales enablement business bankingLast month Seismic explored the findings of EY’s 2017 Global Banking Outlook—a report highlighting what the consultancy sees as five strategic priorities for banks over the next year. Here we are three weeks later, and another look at industry trends has taken the form of Accenture’s Banking Technology Vision 2017. Only this time, as the title denotes, the emphasis of the report’s research and parent survey is where and how banks can harness the benefits of digital technologies in order to meet evolving customer expectations.

Responses were collected from 589 bank executives across 30 countries, and the one area the vast majority of participants agree upon (90 percent to be exact) is that their organizations need to innovate much more aggressively if they are to remain competitive moving forward. Ironically, investment in innovation, particularly that of a comprehensively digital strategy, is where the competitive gap starts to widen, as only 47.8 percent of executives said they are actually doing so.

The report’s introduction succinctly summarizes the two general challenges banks face when it comes to digitally transforming their external and internal operations and presents what it sees as the best pathway for holistically meeting them:

For customers, banks need to enable their natural migration towards digital transactions. They also need to create opportunities through sales and customer service touchpoints to route customers back into a conversation with a staff member whenever they need and want it….For employees, banks need to use technology to empower them to do what people do best: be empathetic, solve problems and provide the human interaction that the vast majority of customers still want from their bank. In this model, banks remove the boring and administrative tasks from employees by using technology to amplify what is truly differentiating about personal interactions and, in the process, make their jobs more productive and more meaningful.

Slices of the Strategic Pie

Authored by Accenture’s Alan Mcintyre, Senior Managing Director, Global Banking, Steve Westland, Managing Director, Global Lead for Banking Technology Strategy, and Schira Lillis, Principle Director, Global Financial Services Research, the report’s findings are delivered in a manner similar to EY’s, but instead of strategic priorities, banks are encouraged to adopt five technology-driven trends. Taken in their entirety, these trends will help banks reach their competitive potential, empowering their human capital and enhancing the overall financial services experience.

The entire report is packed with supporting survey data, and analytical highlights respective to each trend are as follows:

The Uncharted: Pioneer new bank rules of engagement yourself, or risk being regulated out

  • Sixty-six percent of bankers globally (82 percent in the U.S.) said government regulations have not kept up with the pace of technology.
  • Thirty-six percent said that their organization has joined a tech consortium to help set rules, while an additional 51 percent are considering joining one.

Design for Humans: Rethink customer journeys, which now run inside and outside the bank

  • Eighty-one percent of bankers agree that organizations that can truly tap into what motivates human behavior and design the customer experience accordingly will be the next industry leaders.
  • Twenty-seven percent say they are pioneering actions to improve the “match” of what their customers say they need versus what, by action, their customers actually need and receive.

Workforce Marketplace: On-demand talent as a true banking innovation

  • Seventy-two percent of bankers believe corporate bureaucracies are stifling productivity and innovation.
  • Eighty-one percent agree that organizations that successfully integrate a liquid workforce into their business model will gain a significant competitive advantage through innovation.

Ecosystem Power Plays: Platforms are the ties that bind bank people, partners and technology

  • Seventy-six percent of bankers agree that competitive advantage will not be determined by their organization alone, but by the strength of their chosen partners and ecosystems.
  • The top three benefits of participating in digital ecosystems for respondents are improved customer satisfaction (53 percent), increased speed and agility in developing solutions (52 percent), and access to a new customer base (47 percent).

AI is the New UI: Readying for banking’s shift from mobile-first to AI-first

  • Seventy-nine percent of respondents agree that AI will revolutionize the way banks gain information from and interact with customers; 29 percent believe it is extremely important to offer their products/services through centralized platforms/assistants or messaging bots.
  • Bankers’ top three reasons for embedding AI into user interfaces are data analysis and insight (60 percent), productivity (59 percent), and cost benefits/savings (54 percent).

Additional banking reports from Accenture, EY, and other consultancies will continue to define and project the state of the industry throughout 2017, but no matter how the data is presented a common theme should remain: The time for change is now, and seemingly almost everyone knows it.