Accenture Banking Blog

The United Nations’ set of principles to help change the way the world uses and manages water, opens with a profound statement: “Water is precious, fragile, and dangerous…Water and its sources must be respected, because, if neglected, it has the power to harm, divide or even destroy societies.”

Read the report

Technology can be a lot like water. It’s prized for its ability to hydrate business and society, and we’ve seen its beneficial impact on the world’s unbanked. Between 2011 to 2014, the World Bank reports the number of unbanked individuals dropped by 20 percent—thanks to mobile offerings from banks and mobile money service providers. In China, technology has moved a cash-driven society to one that had $15Trn in mobile payments last year, accounting for two-thirds of the global total. Yet, technology can also be incredibly disruptive and fundamentally change industry structures, creating winners and losers in the process. Think Netflix and Blockbuster; Uber and the highly regulated taxi industry; Expedia and travel agencies.

In banking, both old and new industry players need to understand and respect the impact of fast-proliferating technology—if they are to both tap it for its transformative power and avoid being set adrift in an ocean of competitive sharks.

In our recently released Banking Technology Vision 2018 report, we highlight five emerging technology trends that could each spark the next wave of industry disruption. Even in markets that currently look stable and profitable, bankers must be prepared to deal with the threats and opportunities arising from these trends to ensure that they are truly future-ready.

Inaccurate, unverified data will make banks vulnerable to false business insights that drive poor decisions.

One of the trends is the emergence of artificial intelligence as a member of the bank workforce, working next to humans in a symbiotic relationship as co-worker, collaborator and trusted advisor. Nearly 80 percent of bankers in our survey believe that this will happen within the next two years. This is fresh water cascading on what is often a technologically dry element of a bank’s operation, where employees lack the innovative capabilities at work that they use and enjoy in their personal lives. AI as a more visible, trained and accountable co-worker can help bank workers perform their work more efficiently, deliver service that builds customer trust, and drive business growth.

Just as water must be clean to be useable, so must data. Eighty-one percent of bankers said they are basing their most critical systems and strategies on data. Yet, 28 percent said that they do not validate or examine the data they receive from ecosystem or strategic partners most of the time, and five percent said they do not validate at all or rarely do. Inaccurate, unverified data will make banks vulnerable to false business insights that drive poor decisions. Banks can address this vulnerability by verifying the history of data from its origin onward—understanding its context and how it is being used—and by securing and maintaining the data.

I invite you to read our full report, Banking Technology Vision 2018: Building the future-ready bank.