Latest Technological Trends in Financial Industry

By Riyaz Ladiwala, Senior Vice President, Edelweiss Broking Limited

Riyaz Ladiwala, Senior Vice President, Edelweiss Broking Limited

Headquartered in Mumbai, Edelweiss Broking limited (BSE: 532922; NSE: EDELWEISS) is one of India’s leading online stock/share trading portal which allows people to trade on BSE and NSE across multiple asset classes such as equities, derivatives, currency, commodity, mutual funds, and more. The company has a current market cap of Rs. 53.95 billion (NSE).

Historically, the finance industry has been the largest and the fastest adopter of technology – either to improve its products or to deliver better value to clients at a larger scale. A glance at the client roster of most tech companies would find banks, finance institutions right at the top.
 
In recent times, while there continue to be innovations, the finance sector has lagged in coming up with solutions to meet the vast needs of the clients that it services. The share of mind for delivering “wow” experience has been taken up by e-Commerce, music, entertainment and the healthcare sectors. The race however to take top spot as a technology adopter is very much on and over the next 12 months, we should see a slew of releases from the finance industry which will cement its position as the tech leader.

Here are some of the top five large tech trends that I foresee over the next 12 months –

1. Voice: Voice will be the next frontier after touch. Over the next 12 months or so, voice will permeate every part of our digital life, be it for search (show me top 25 companies by market cap), authentication (your voice is your password) or to simply transact (buy me 100 shares of company X). Google and Apple have taken strides already in the form of the OK Google and Siri platforms, but this year we should find them becoming part of day-to-day applications. Just imagining what this will do for customer experience on boring IVRs and on devices like mobiles is mind boggling.

2. Social Transacting: A significant part of our digital lives are spent on social media platforms. This year, apart from customer engagement and listening, social will make a serious entry into the realm of transactions. So you can look forward to initiating or completing transactions through social (e.g.: send or receive cash from friends) and following what your friends are doing on social media platforms. The concept of social investing (imitating in a single click what others are doing, e.g. motif.com) which has remained a concept only till date in India should take off this year. Facebook and Twitter will continue, in all probability, their domination in the social arena.

3. Artificial Intelligence: Significant progress has been made on the analytics front in terms of capturing user behaviour, marrying it to other demographic profiles to offer better, targeted client solutions. I foresee applying artificial intelligence in the form of smart algorithms to this data to create virtual RMs who would be capable of conducting a “near perfect conversation” with clients. A virtual RM would be able to remember and analyse previous interactions, transactions of clients to deliver a near “personal” experience. This could have a huge impact of the way corporations look at customer servicing in future.

4. Mobility: The last two years have been about having a mobile presence (an app or an HTML site). Going forward, the game will not be about just having a mobile app, but thinking through what users can do on the app. With computing power in mobile devices packing a punch, one should expect experience on mobiles to get faster, richer and more productive. Form (design, navigation, user experience) will be become as important if not more important than just features on the app. Wearable devices should make an entry this year (perhaps not in a big way, that is probably over a year away), but will still make their presence felt.

5. Emergence of a Marketplace: So far, the concept of a market place has been restricted to e-Commerce platforms. Over the next 12 months or so, one should see the marketplace concept taking off in financial services as well. So in a typical marketplace if you had lenders on one side and borrowers on the others, we should see platforms (regulations permitting) which will connect the two. Or a platform connecting people who are seeking investing advice and experts willing to offer it for a fee.
 
Apart from the above, there are several other aspects of technology which will go a long way in enhancing customer experience like superior data visualisations and emphasis on design for self service customers. So there it is – my top trends for the next 12 months. But 12 months is a long time in technology and things can change very quickly. So here’s hoping to be surprised positively!

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