Top 3 Technology Trends for January

Looking in to the crystal ball for 2012, a number of new technologies and trends will become evident this year. In my opinion, there are 3 significant and interlinked trends that will become critical for financial institutions.

1. Big Data
Big data is the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity. Banks have to realise that they are in the data business and that data is their biggest asset.

This is all about how structured and unstructured data is processed, analysed, optimised, automated and protected. Unstructured data accounts for 85% of everything we interact with including emails, text, video and web.

The next generation for big data  is about getting the machine to fit to humans. This will require the structured and unstructured data worlds to combine to provide a single layer across the enterprise, providing a consolidated and comprehensive picture of the customer. Only then will banks be able to tap into data as an asset, mining information to drive intelligence and customer insight.

2. Social CRM
A natural extension of big data is Social CRM. An evolution of customer relationship processes, to manage customer relationships and data in an efficient and process centric way.  Social CRM is about developing a social or collaborative business, both internally and externally, to identify and solve the business challenges your customers are facing.

At its most basic form, this will involve monitoring blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for references to your company.  Proactively, this will enable an organisation to create and manage its own online community, enabling your customers to interact, inform and conduct business. Dashboards can be enabled to define the most active social markets, drive customer engagement and insight as well as increasing customer service and satisfaction. Further benefits include client segmentation, rankings and behavioural targeting to further increase customer engagement and penetration.

3. Gamification
Fortune Magazine has identified a number of companies that are utilising gamification as a competitive advantage, using the same mechanics that hook gamers, as an effective way to generate business (

This has caught the attention of venture capitalists that have noticed large number of companies seeking funding for consumer software applications utilising game design theory.

Gamification will become a key tool to drive customer engagement and desirable web site behaviour. Using game design techniques to solve problems and engage audiences will become key for organisations with a Social CRM agenda.

This can be achieved through the introduction of gamification elements, such as badges, rewards, leader boards and ribbons to solve problems and increase engagement with customer audiences. As an example, Seattle-based Evo Media increased the number of users who completed their online tasks from 10% to 80% by adding gamification elements.  Users can receive points or badges for performing a variety of actions including spreading links to questions and answers via Facebook and Twitter. When a users reputational points exceeds various thresholds, they benefit from higher privileges with the option of moderating the site.

The convergence of Big Data, Social CRM and Gamification will drive significant opportunity for financial organisations to realise the benefit of their biggest asset – data. This will drive competitive advantage from improved customer information, intelligence and insight.

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