Late 19th century American farmers, threatened by industrialisation, had to use new tools and techniques to innovate and survive. African-American inventor, scientist and botanist George Washington Carver, summed it up like this: “When you do the common things in an uncommon way, you’ll command the attention of the world.” Carver was certainly an innovator, having reputedly discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes.
The challenge for banks is that the uncommon is becoming common at an accelerated pace. Whether it is a mortgage on your phone or a cardless ATM withdrawal, the differentiation doesn’t last long these days, and the pack catches up with the innovators very quickly. This year’s Banking Technology Vision research tried to look beyond the common to identify five technology trends that we think will define the uncommon in the post-digital era. Responses from the 784 bank business and IT executives we polled helped shape our view on which technologies and innovations could be the secrets to success.
One of the IT trends we identified is around digital demographics. As customers interact with mobile and other devices, they create an ever-expanding digital identity that reflects both the tools they use and how they prefer to use them. Revealed digital identities give banks far better insights into how customers want to interact with them, creating the opportunity for banks to create fluid, individualised profiles that enable true customer intimacy. Combined with flexible product configuration capabilities, it can get banks much closer to the fabled “segment of one”, where products and services are tailored to the individual in real time, moment by moment, with less risk of deception by fraudsters as well as less risk of suggesting the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Eighty-five percent of banking executives believe that digital demographics will give their organisations new ways to identify unmet customer needs. Eighty percent also report that digital demographics will expand the ways they deliver products and services. Rather than simply relying on traditional segmentation parameters, such as age, wealth, location and gender, 83 percent of banking executives believe that consumers’ digital demographics are a more powerful way to both understand and serve customer needs.
The uncommon is becoming common at an accelerated pace
UK-based fintech CreditEnable is helping corporate lenders tap into the power of digital demographics by collecting extensive global financial datasets on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and using proprietary credit algorithms to quickly generate insights on both risk and opportunities.¹ This technology makes it easy for SME borrowers to understand and improve their ability to secure affordable debt and also helps lenders improve risk management and asset quality. It also helps lenders make smarter and faster credit decisions, through a more comprehensive understanding of borrowers’ capacity to absorb debt. Similarly, lending platform SlicePay in India uses more than 10,000 data points to build student loan applicant profiles—including applicants’ use of technology and posting behaviour on social media—providing better access to credit for the financially excluded.²
By fully using the data that is available to them, banks can delight customers with the uncommon, whether that is a surprising offer of credit or a timely piece of advice around spending patterns. Banks remain an information nexus through which huge swathes of information pass every day, and each piece of data provides an opportunity for uncommon relevance, personalisation and speed. Those banks that recognise and extract insight from those flows will be the ones that are able to farm new paths to value and growth.
I encourage you to read about all five trends in the full report, Banking Technology Vision 2019: The dawn of banking in the post-digital era. Consider how you might apply these innovation-led developments to distinguish your bank and create more value as the post-digital world unfolds.