2018 was a big year for financial services. Innovation with the advent of FinTech partnerships, a major push for digitization and a focus on omni-channel experiences defined a big transitionary period. In 2019, these areas of growth and change will continue, along with astute tailoring of new technology and opportunities. Most importantly, financial services organizations will learn to harness the power of digitization and innovation to maximize value and security for customers.
The impetus is on financial institutions to modernize their various back end systems in an increasingly digital age. Most financial institutions have a variety of disparate and disconnected systems for processing and storing data, which presents a unique challenge in 2019 to update.
Despite this challenge, developing simplified, connected systems for processing information is becoming increasingly important as customer data stands to increase exponentially in the coming decade.
A smart system for this transition is to move from digital models to cloud-based solutions, often with a partner to help guide the process. A partner can help ensure cost effectiveness of the transition, a useful degree of interaction between various data sets and applications, the ability to modify and change as technology evolves and the ability to share cloud-based data and information with FinTech partners in a secure way.
FinTech Challenges the Status Quo
Last year, we spoke a lot about the importance and growing influence of partnerships between financial institutions and FinTech startups. While financial institutions bring security along with regulation and a consistent customer base, FinTech startups offer creative ways to look at finances and innovative tools to take customer experience to the next level. The partnership is natural, and this year, this practice enters the mainstream.
Specifically, financial institutions will be seeking these partnerships more commonly as a way to “contract out” innovation and customer offerings. However, to do so, they need to ensure customers’ information and any information sharing is rock solid. Executives and directors should focus their attention on creating an open banking framework that is reliable, secure and prepared for the future of regularly sharing customer information with third party FinTech partners, a practice which is quickly becoming the norm.
Seamless, Integrated Banking
2018 was a huge year for the digitization of banking (yes, branches are still very important), and with an increase in digitization comes an increase in daily integration into consumers’ lives. This has transformed the relationship consumers have with their financial institutions — moving away from infrequent, major banking activities and more toward consistent communication and tweaking of their financial lives.
In this way, the customer journey and omni-channel experience demands a slightly new perspective: thinking of things in terms of customer journey and value, rather than through channel. After an explosion of digitization, making sure each touchpoint brings creates an easy, valuable and personable experience will be a focus for marketers in 2019.
Additionally, new digital technologies will see major growth this year. Most notably, voice services similar to Apple’s Siri will begin to see application in financial services. This trend is growing across industries, but in banking, it will be used for anything from questions about a mobile dashboard to completing an internal money transfer.
Notably, the importance of branches remains. According to Deloitte, services like virtual screen sharing with a branch representative make consumers more likely to visit branches and reiterate the necessity for a comprehensive omni-channel customer journey.