Of all the verticals in Australia, financial services is perhaps the one that has seen the most in innovation and technical development in 2014. From the biggest banks right through to local credit unions, financial services organisations have had to learn how to engage better and more deeply with customers, and they’ve had to do it quickly!
The interest in technology innovation among Australia’s banks really kicked off when, a few years ago, the then CIO of Commonwealth Bank, Michael Harte, embarked on a core modernisation strategy that, once implemented, has allowed the bank to innovate in 2014 with apps and other technology and has facilitated a far more robust platform for future innovation. The other banks have essentially been forced to catch up in order to remain competitive.
In 2015 that innovation on the customer-facing side of technology will continue in financial services. Customers will demand a more mobile, tech-driven experience where they can do robust banking through their phones and tablets, so mobile applications will continue to be enhanced, websites will continue to be overhauled and customised content will become more important than ever. The perfect example of that in Australia is UBank, which uses customer data to provide insights into how a person’s finances compare to other people in similar situations to them.
With all the innovation that’s happening around the consumer experience and customer data, one of the big areas of innovation in financial services on the back end will be big data and analytics. This information will be used to offer more highly customised products and services to customers, and give them a better sense of personal engagement. In other words, this technology spend will be largely for the benefit of the marketing team. If we are going to see Gartner’s prediction that the CMO will spend more on technology than the CIO, it will be led by trends in financial services.
But this will likely cause some challenges in a financial services organisation’s IT team, who will be expected to do more with less in 2015. Once the businesses have finished moving off the legacy platforms, the next stage for most financial services’ IT teams will be on finding efficiencies. Cloud deployments will become more commonplace, as clunky on-site servers are replaced with fast, properly redundant ones from top tier Cloud providers.
This trend towards the Cloud will also give financial services employees greater mobility, which will be more essential than ever. Whether working from a satellite office or on the road, banking employees are more mobile than ever, so being able to access the network from anywhere is a must.
BYOD trends and having access to more technology in the workplace will also become a critical issue as financial services organisations look to attract and retain young talent. This will continue to cause security headaches, as BYOD has done in the past, but investments in Cloud management and mobile device security will help mitigate that technology risk.
With a more mobile workforce that is working off a great range of different devices, financial services organisations will also find the need to invest in technologies that enable robust collaboration. We see SharePoint becoming an even more major force for financial services companies, as they work through ways to keep productivity on a high within a more dynamic and fast-moving workplace than ever before.