With half of 2019 already gone, financial institution directors and executives should have their minds toward the future. We tend to think of technology as a means to an end — delivering a superior customer experience — but staying up tot speed on tech evolution helps decision makers identify future opportunities and understand where the industry is headed next. Here are a few tech trends we’re keeping our eyes on in the latter half of this year:
Bitcoin, the most widely used and know digital currency, has, up until this point, experienced a roller coaster of valuations throughout its existence. Historically optimism and wide usage has driven its value up, while concerns about regulation and legitimacy, often coming in the form of windfall legal or political events, have caused its value to crash quickly.
However, a new beginning for digital currencies may be on the horizon, with Facebook announcing its rollout of its digital currency, Libra. While Facebook will likely face similar roadblocks regarding regulation that Bitcoin has experienced, Facebook brings a new legitimacy to the conversation and the financial ability to help it navigate those hurdles. If Libra is successful, it could pave the way for other digital currencies as well.
The world of voice-controlled interactions has already spread to other industries. Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri stand out as virtual assistants who primarily function by the user’s vocal interaction, and the trend is now spreading to financial institutions. Tasks such as looking for help related to finances, searching through transaction histories, or conducting everyday tasks such as making payments or conducting internal transfers will all begin to utilize voice commands very soon. These commands are a new venue of enhanced customer experience, and while they have yet to be widely adopted, the trend may see widespread adoption quickly. Bank and credit union executives should learn more to see how they can begin to integrate voice services with their existing mobile platform, setting them up for success to expand voice commands throughout their app in the next few years.
A Digital Battle for Customer Experience
Financial institutions are focusing more and more on their digital experiences, including things like streamlining their online interactions, conveying their brand values in an online format and expanding into new technologies like voice control, as mentioned. Essentially, a lot of major players for financial institutions have identified digital experience as a make-or-break element of their overall business strategy, hoping that delivery on this aspect of their service will help secure and retain long-term, valuable customers.
Combined with this level of competition, smaller financial institutions have closed the gap on the big bans. Regional banks and credit unions now have access to app development, online banking and other digital platforms that used to be more exclusive to the big banks due to a high initial price point to be an innovator in this field. However, the ability to contract out app development and the omni-channel platform at a lower cost has enabled these smaller players to enter the field, making it even more competitive, especially for these smaller organizations that tend to excel at branch customer experience. Additionally, the influx of FinTech and other tech players entering the financial services realm means organizations need to have a rock solid digital foundation to survive and thrive over the next few years.