Technology is needed more than ever in business because we’ve reached the stage where products and services need to serve the customer successfully and efficiently, otherwise customers will refuse to use it. Sessions at Sibos today looked into how regulators are embracing the fintech ecosystem and how technology trends effect the infrastructure that financial institutions could be using in the next five or ten years.
At the start of the day, we heard from Dr Leda Glyptis, Director at Sapient Global Markets, who gave an outstanding speech at the start of the Technology Trends in Financial Services session about how technology was viewed 15 years ago in comparison to how it is viewed now. She spoke about how those who worked in the IT department remained in the basement and were used to being treated in a certain way because they were bad at the messiness of human life. Now, they’re in the boardroom.
Glyptis explored how the question ‘what is this for?’ is being asked philosophically now when it comes to the creation of new products – none of this is fluffy. “What did Uber and Tinder actually do apart from share customer footfall?” Glyptis proposed and explained how the problem is we don’t know how to do this in banking – where we can use bits of technology to make an excellent application and monetise it.
“Tech now forces us to learn every day and companies need bosses who are happy to have the humility of not knowing and weaponise the knowledge,” Glyptis said. Jesse McWaters from the World Economic Forum highlighted that the problem lies in the fact that banks find it hard to be customer centric because of other parties being involved: who will own the customer in the future? Glyptis said that there is an immense level of engagement and activity at the moment because there is a change in attitude mixed with concern and fear.
Cooperation with new tech
“Cooperation is easy to do on the fringes because it is easy to test and then reject if the body doesn’t like or want it,” Glyptis said. She went on to explain that there are many ways that a bank can “crush” a fintech with risk analytics and with access to data, financial institutions can be stored wherever and can be spat out as anything. “The difficulty is on the human side because there is a talent gap in the traditional sector” as the legacy staff don’t know how to work with the new systems.
McWaters explored how there would be a need for new infrastructure if the two sides of the network cannot connect. “Identity is where it is most cumbersome and we should think about the capabilities of existing technologies like blockchain to create a more modular and updatable service and establish standards that let you do this,” McWaters said. Standards, and more importantly, regulators could be the stepping stone to the success of fintech.
“If regulators give the same seal of approval to new players that they do to legacy players, it could unlock the cap for new technology to excel,” Glyptis said. Carlos Sanchez, CEO from ipagoo, proposed an interesting concept and said that all banks offer the same services, but now as times have changed, devices such as the mobile phone are now necessary. “Collaboration in the new world means that the value chain needs to be broken down and each part needs to be the best,” Sanchez said.
Remodelling the world
Another exciting session at Sibos on Day 1 was the Emerging Technologies in Financial Services hosted by Michell Zappa, a self-proclaimed futurist from Envisioning Tech in the Innotribe area at the conference. Zappa highlighted that we think about technology in terms of the gadgets that are created because everything around us that is not natural can be defined as technology. This is the way that we’ve reshaped the Earth.
“Tech follows patterns and has a certain behaviour. Like the speeding up of the iPhone, everything is getting faster and agriculture is also changing as all companies are tech companies because they rely on tech to do what it does,” Zappa said. He then went on to explore his principles for tech that define how tech behaves and this longitudinal way of thinking helps to anchor your thoughts. Alongside this, technology is created because of unintended consequences.
Expectations of the world are linear and reality is more exponential, which means that long term effects are underestimated.
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