Adding Value Through Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

A successful keynote presentation on Adding Value Through Robotics and Artificial Intelligence at a leading Finance conference in Stockholm.

In addition to showcasing my industry insight and expertise to drive operational efficiency improvements, I demonstrated how to create a software robotic process (RPA) live on stage.

Pictured with Ian are Pia Sehm (TV news journalist) and David Fredriksson (Technology Consultant).

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Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Getting ready to share my industry knowledge, speaking on Robotic Process Automation #RPA at leading #finance conference in Stockholm.

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Transforming the Wealth Management Industry

The wealth management industry is facing one of its biggest challenges for decades.

Rapid developments in technology are changing client behaviour with increased demand for self service and personalisation. At the same time investment requirements are becoming increasingly specialised and diverse, such as wealth transfer and social impact investing, all of which pose a significant challenge to established business strategies that have change very little since the 1930s.

Technology and Intensifying Competition
Existing operational processes that are built around legacy silos coupled with the slow adoption of new technology continues to constrain the industry as existing processes can not be easily remodelled for today’s investor.

The majority of wealth management IT infrastructure has been built in an eclectic style based on operational silos and Excel spreadsheets. The underlying infrastructure often resembles a patchwork quilt of different systems and applications that have been stitched together as a result of successive mergers and acquisitions.

Fast forward to 2017 and mega indexers, which run passive low cost tracker funds, are attracting the lion’s share of new investment and are aggressively eroding market share from established incumbents.

At the same time, new digital disruptors are beginning to show an active interest in money management. Google has commissioned research on how it could enter the asset management industry. In addition, Facebook recently received regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Ireland allowing it to operate a payments service.

All this change is happening as wealth managers struggle with ever accelerating costs fuelled by an ever-increasing burden of regulation and compliance.

Increased regulation such a MiFID II is forcing wealth managers to restructure their operating models, upgrade key technology platforms as well as redesigning client fee structures.

A recent survey from EY indicated that a medium size UK wealth manager will need to spend between £3m-£5m to become MiFID II compliant.

New Dawn
In the face of changing customer demands and the rise of new agile competitors, wealth managers are under pressure to reinvent their business models and invest in development of new propositions.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
As wealth managers look to digitise their services, they are actively searching for ways to harness artificial intelligence to automate routine tasks.

RPA is an emerging form of process automation technology based on the notion of software robots.  RPA can be applied to automate routine tasks, that are methodical, repetitive, and rules-based such as account rebalancing, customised portfolio reports and compliance reporting.

These tasks are traditionally undertaken by humans and by creating a virtual workforce of software robots, companies can streamline processes with a scalable and flexible back office infrastructure. In addition to increasing the quality and cost effectiveness of back office processes, RPA will free up knowledgeable staff to handle higher value tasks.

New Digital Tools
At the same time, new digital tools powered by AI and smart data analytics will enhance the customer experience and advisor productivity. New intelligent tools will be able to provide personalised advice, such as enhanced investment data analytics and visualisation tools, providing greater transparency on fees, key services and the overall investment process.

Robo Advisors
A number of wealth management firms are developing proprietary robo-platforms powered by AI to improve front-office operations including proposal generation, client on boarding and portfolio construction capabilities.

These new digital services can be accessed 24 hours a day, anywhere and on any device, dramatically improving operational efficiency while at the same time supporting client demands for new digital tools.

The wealth management industry is facing its biggest challenge for decades, fuelled by changing client demographics, new digital disruptors and increasing regulatory compliance.

To survive firms will have to execute clear digital strategies for the future that will need to focus on cost-efficient operating models. This will need to be achieved by embracing new ‘technology’ such as Artificial Intelligence, RPA and Robo Advisors to dramatically improve operational efficiency while at the same time meeting client demands for new intelligent wealth management digital tools.

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Three Trends That Will Shake Up The Insurance Sector

The insurance sector can trace is heritage over hundreds of years with the first known insurance contracts being recorded in Italy in 1347. Fast forward to 2017 and with Lloyds underwriters still grappling their trademark slipcases, the flimsy leather sheaths that bulge with bundles of papers, some would argue that the sector has change very little since 1347.

In today’s highly connected world, customers’ expectations have dramatically changed, but the insurance sector is falling short of meeting those expectations. For many customers, interaction with their insurance company typically happens once a year, far less than any other industry.

Previously, insurance processes have been determined by the limitations of technology with many back office processes designed around legacy systems that are creaking at the seams. Many of the procedures are paper based, impacting efficiency which dramatically increases the cost base of the organisation.

As an example, current processes to purchase car insurance from an aggregator site are fragmented and far from streamlined. After being presented with a quick view of the premium from each provider on the portal, the customer is redirected and forced to login with the selected provider in order to complete the transaction. When compared to the process of buying a book on Amazon, with the option of single click fulfilment, the process of purchasing insurance mirrors how business was conducted 20 years ago.

With fast changing consumer expectations, new technology has introduced the expectation of ease of use, personalised pricing and immediate fulfilment.  This new way of working, putting the consumer in control, has not translated to the insurance sector which now realises that it has been caught snoozing and now needs to change.

With the insurance sector now waking up to its own industrial revolution, there are 3 exciting trends emerging to improve customer engagement and optimise the insurance industry:

1. AI (Artificial Intelligence)
The introduction of Artificial intelligence could revolutionise the industry, automating routine tasks that are methodical, repetitive, and rules-base, such as form processing and onboarding new customers. It is particularly valuable in automating “swivel chair” tasks, where data needs to be transferred from one software system to another.

These processing tasks are traditionally undertaken by an army of back office staff and by creating a virtual workforce of software robots, companies can streamline processes, as well as increase the quality and cost-effectiveness of the service being provided.

2. Data Is The New Golden Thread
With the advancement of new techniques such as AI and cloud computing, there is a significant opportunity for insurance companies to exploit the amount of data that can be analysed and the way that it can be used.

Leading insurers are actively using data to empower underwriters to drive continuous improvement in the customer journey, identifying the most common causes of referral (to an underwriter) and automating their underwriting decisions.  This improves the customer experience, and in many cases gives the customer the peace of mind that their cover is in place immediately.

The combination of AI and big data sets is enabling insurance companies to free up valuable and scare underwriting resource and to develop new valued added propositions.  Smart data analytics provides reliable data on user behaviour from developing enhanced analytic tools to spot fraud patterns quickly through to developing new chatbot agents to take customers through the application process.  In addition, the development of new risk pricing models can be used to provide alternative insurance decisions such as “sell to budget” function or “upsell” to the maximum allowable sum for a family heirloom.

3. IoT (Internet of Things)
The internet of things, where everyday objects are connected to the internet, means insurance companies will have access to more data about the sort of risks they face.

By measuring how people drive through telematics or monitoring physical wellness via wearable devices, the industry hopes that it can persuade its customers to change behaviour, to cut out risks and so push down the cost of claims.

With the use of big data and IoT, Insurance companies are discovering that they are able to use new techniques to manage the risk portfolio in real time. By utilising techniques of gamification, insurance companies are able to offer game like features to manage driver behaviour, from a free Frappuccino to reward careful driving, through to notifying poor drivers of the potential impact to renewal premiums or the policy being suspended.

Insurance companies hope that by leveraging new technology they can influence user behaviour to avoid accidents and reduce the number of claims, moving from being a source of claim payments to become a trusted and informed advisor.

The insurance industry has to take a different view of how it operates and is at last embracing its very own industrial revolution.

How we purchase insurance in the future will be enormously different as companies move from an annual “disgruntled” purchase to embracing AI, smart data analytics and IoT.

New Technology will sharpen up the insurance sector and improve the way it works, enabling risk to be assessed in new ways, presenting a significant opportunity for the industry to transform and reposition itself to become a trusted and informed risk partner.

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Two Important Regtech Trends That Will Shape The Future

A leading Private Equity firm approached me to share my insight on the strategic trends and commercial opportunities that are driving the regtech sector.

Regtech is a sub-set of fintech that focuses on the use of new technologies and innovation to solve regulatory and compliance requirements more effectively and efficiently.

Powering the new regtech wave are two “hot” categories of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (IA):

  1. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA is an emerging form of process automation technology based on the notion of software robots.  Applied independently, RPA has great potential for automating routine tasks, that are methodical, repetitive, and rules-based.  It is particularly valuable in automating “swivel chair” tasks, where data needs to be transferred from one software system to another, such as form processing, accounts payable and staff onboarding. These tasks are traditionally undertaken by humans and by creating a virtual workforce of software robots, companies can streamline processes as well as increase the quality and cost-effectiveness of shared services.

According to Gartner, RPA is “relatively low cost, quick to implement and unobtrusive“. Supporting this, a number of vendors have established dedicated RPA tools, such as Automation Anywhere and UiPath, which can be used to capture a sequence of user actions and speed up the definition and automation of a process.

RPA benefits include accelerated cycle times, improved throughput as well as increased flexibility and scalability. Furthermore, RPA offers the opportunity to automate the “long-tail” of low-volume / low-value processes that have been historically uneconomical to automate.

The sheer volume of data to be reported and monitored by financial organisations makes RPA solutions a necessity. Regtech, powered by RPA,  can be used to collect, analyse and test entire new data sets, identifying potential risks, as well as generating more meaningful Management Information (MI). For example, a robust fraud detection platform developed using RPA technology could shorten the transaction life-span and improve consumer experience as well as commercial profitability by reducing the number of false negatives.

By contrast, nonroutine tasks involving judgment, intuition and problem solving are currently too complex to be automated via a standard RPA approach.

  1. Intelligent Automation (IA)

The decreasing costs of data storage and processing power are enabling a new breed of cognitive technologies with humanlike capabilities, such as recognizing handwriting, identifying images, and natural language processing. When combined with robotic process automation, these cognitive technologies can form Intelligence Automation “IA” solutions that can either directly assist people in the performance of nonroutine tasks or even automate those tasks entirely.

Intelligent Automation are pieces of software with machine learning capabilities that work with unstructured data such as email, documents and web data.  They use a variety of techniques to automate processes including smart data analytics and neural process patterns to learn from experience and expand their knowledge base.

These new cognitive tools are based on a variety of machine learning algorithms such as Deep Learning Neural Networks or Random Forests.

New intelligent automation platforms such as Worksoft Analyze automate business process discovery, capturing end users’ normal activities and connecting them in an end-to-end process, using artificial intelligence.

The introduction of IA provides the concepts of continual predictive analysis, providing a more automated and cost effective way of meeting compliance.  As an example, IA can monitor a bank’s traders in a real time basis, learning their behaviour patterns and raise the alarm when they do something out of character.

Across the wider financial services ecosystem, the use of IA looks just as promising.  Wealth Management firms are using IA to review and analyze portfolio data, determine meaningful metrics, and to generate natural-language reports for their customers on the performance of each of their funds.

In conclusion, with many companies continuing to fall short of regulatory expectations by maintaining highly manual processes, the emergence of regtech offers financial organisations the opportunity to introduce a generation step change in process automation.  The use of new innovative technology, such as RPA and IA, can transform incumbents by increasing their profitability and efficiency, while at the same time making compliance less complex and capacity demanding.

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How to build a Digital Dream Team

Many organisations are pivoting to new digital business models, requiring large parts of the employee base to adopt a digital business value chain. At the same time, digital experiments such as innovation labs and new digital products have delivered notable successes such that digital skills are now in high demand and short supply.

A question I am frequently asked is how do you build a digital dream team for your new digital enterprise?

What is a Digital Business?
The first question we need to tackle is what do we mean by a digital business?

Gartner defines a digital business as:

the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds … via an unprecedented convergence of people, business and things”.

I believe that this can be further refined by defining a digital business as:

creating new business models based on new customer experiences and products that exploit information and technology at speed.

Delivering business value from a digital workplace requires a new form of “Digital Dexterity”, the ability to master and execute a pragmatic set of techniques to quickly exploit emerging technology. This new form of agility will be a significant source of competitive advantage as organisations pivot to new digital business models.

Digital Dexterity will need to be supported by a strategy that is focused on building a dynamic digital team of people and culture:

Building a Dynamic Digital Team
Establishing a dynamic digital team to improve processes and drive new profitable business models is at the crux of a digital strategy.

By design, the digital team is small and specialised, staffed by multi disciplinary subject matter experts from across the businesses, including marketing, sales, technology and related lines of business. This team will often consist of both a permanent and temporary team.

The permanent team is designed to maintain focus on the enterprise’s digital vision and goals. The team consists of a digital programme team, responsible for creating and communicating the digital storyline, in addition to a technology team who are responsible for developing the technical platform to deliver the digital vision.

The temporary team supports the permanent team and is responsible for initiating and incubating the ultimate digital deliverable. The temporary team members will come from business departments and external suppliers, proving deep subject matter expertise on new products and customer insights.

Both permanent and temporary teams will have an entrepreneurial attitude for experimenting, innovating and creating new customer value. The combined team will have a disciplined ‘test and learn’ approach, supported by a risk-taking mind-set and technical creativity to break with the status quo, accept failure, gain new customer insight and learn.

The digital team will need to iterate the digital solution until they get it right—not only delivering what the customer wants but also understanding why they want it so that issues can be addressed and emerging needs factored in with speed.

Challenger Board
A recent market development is that a number of companies have set up a separate “challenger” or advisory boards for their digital portfolio. The board will include domain experts who know the business inside out and digital natives hired from start-ups or tech companies. With their deep digital experience and outsider perspective, the in-house advisory experts can ask tough questions, uncover problems quickly, and spot opportunities for disrupting the business with sleek customer solutions and enhanced commercial value.

A successful digital team will need to possess a number of key capabilities and competencies. These individuals will bring varied perspectives, earned from working in a customer focused environment where the user experience and customer intimacy reigns supreme. The team will need to have a high degree of digital literacy – intensely focused on the customer, constantly evolving and improving the customer experience.

These individuals will be a jack of multiple competencies, such as smart data analytics and hyper scale cloud computing, as opposed to a mastery of a single skill. They will recognise that user experience (UX) design is a differentiator and will be comfortable with uncertainty and act with agility.

Organisations are ruthlessly competing for people with digital skills so turning a digital vision into reality requires attracting, motivating and retaining talented people.

To succeed in digital business, leaders must build a culture that is unrestricted by traditional beliefs and practices, by investing in simple processes and support structures.

Team members must be liberated from counterproductive beliefs and practices. The team should feel that there is a risk-taking culture ready to challenge with the status quo, accept failure and learn. The team will need to feel they can safely change from what has made them successful in the past to something that will make them successful in the digitalized future.

Only by investing in a learning culture that is ready to break with the status quo and accept failure will the organisation be able to gain new insight and learnings on driving organisational change.

In summary, building a highly effective digital team require as new form of Digital Dexterity and the ability to master a new set of techniques focused on building a dynamic digital team that is obsessed with improving the customer experience and a culture that can challenge the status quo.

Only then can the organisation be confident that is has the digital team in place to engage talented employees across the company and drive new, profitable business models.

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Time to Reboot Corporate Banking – Is Everyone Ready ?

Corporate banking is often seen to be removed from the digital disruption that has shook many traditional industries such as retail, music and travel.

In an industry that has operated as a relationship business, many corporate banking customers have shifted to digital banking for their personal banking yet opted to keep a wait-and-see attitude for their commercial banking needs.

A number of new competitors have entered the corporate banking landscape, with advanced digital platforms that are allowing customers to bypass traditional banks in a number of key areas such as real time, low cost cross currency payments.

Has the time now come for the corporate banking landscape to be exposed to a far-reaching digital shakeout ?

A Digital Shakeout?
Corporate banking, as the name suggests supports corporate customers with lending, cash management and trade finance services to organisations that dot the globe, representing a scale and complexity that seems at odds to the sleek simplicity of the point-and-click Internet world.

Corporate banks have historically struggled to make the transition to the new digital landscape due to the significant amount of legacy debt caused by two unsustainable approaches to technology:

Firstly, banks tried to build a one size fits all core banking system, a monolith, that could be scaled up over time to support different types of businesses from specialised lending, treasury services, through to cross border trade. As banking demands grew, customer requirements increased and regulation intensified, the monolith approach stalled under its own weight.

Secondly, the best of breed model, which relied on selecting the strongest system for each key business area or function, resulted in an eclectic system architecture. The patchwork of different systems, with multiple data islands, resulted in a lack of data aggregation, to make informed commercial decisions for clients as well as providing the transparency required by regulators.

Digital Is Driving Higher Expectations
The evolving landscape of corporate banking has attracted the attention of non-bank competitors. One such organisation, Ripple, offers an open payments protocol for international payments, enabling real-time settlement and clearing, reducing the need for intermediaries.

Business clients are not only open to transacting and liaising with relationship managers (RMs) over digital platforms but the majority are willing to pay a premium to work with banks that are capable of delivering a new type of highly integrated digital service that they have grown accustomed to and expect.

Three digital value propositions show particular promise for corporate banks: customer centric value propositions, enhanced digital advice, and real-time decision-making support.

(i) Customer-Centric Value Propositions
Today’s corporate banking customers require a customer centric proposition that is based on corporate connectivity, connecting the customer with the correct service as part of a multi channel offering. By providing the correct connectivity, based on self-service, convenience and efficiency, the bank can reduce the cost to serve while at the same time improving the customer experience and increasing client efficiency.

Data will be key to enabling this customer centric proposition, delivering new business intelligence such as risk and profitability, as well as unlocking new operational insights and digitally enabled sales, enabling banks to boost both customer cross sell and potential wallet share.

(ii) Seamless Online Banking
In a highly connected world, corporate customers need access to key information, such as bank statements and payments, in less than three clicks. The future of Corporate banking technology will have to combine highly connected tools and best-of-breed components on a platform that is driven by open interfaces and cross-business cohesion.

Banks will need to leverage modern business intelligence tools and application programming interfaces (APIs) that draw on the latest database technologies, visualization tools, and processing capabilities from the wider fintech ecosystem in order to provide the customer with a seamless online banking experience

(iii) Enhanced Digital Advice
Banks have traditionally automated disparate parts of their business, but are now looking at end to end process digitisation to increase efficiency and lower operational risk.

Fully digitised workflow applications, based on straight through processing and real time decision making offer the opportunity to revolutionise lending and treasury products. New workflow-based applications, will be able to offer dynamic dashboards with real-time cash, liquidity, and payment management capabilities, increasing the efficiency and transparency to the corporate user, while at the same time enabling banks to offer highly effective and targeted advice to their corporate clients.

In conclusion, corporate banks are under mounting pressure to respond to the new level of digital disruption as non traditional banking entrants continue to challenge and shake up the status quo.

The next generation of corporate banks will have to radically optimise performance by learning how to embrace digital transformation, developing a customer centric proposition, seamless online banking and enhanced digital advice at its very heart.

Only by developing a clear digital strategy will corporate banks stay relevant, while at the same time opening up new paths to sustained economic profit and customer benefit.

To discuss this or any other technology challenges you may have, please contact me directly.

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Fintech Collaboration – A story of David and Goliath

The partnership between fintechs and banks has often been told as a story of David and Goliath, a relationship that has been contentious at best and adversarial at worst.

Many industry observers predicted that the progressive culture and technology superiority of fintechs would topple the established banks.  Fast forward to 2017 and stories about David defeating Goliath have been put to rest as banks and fintechs are entering a new form of partnership.

Fintech organisations have made huge investments in developing new products and services to make banking as frictionless and effortless as possible, driving innovation and providing better products to customers.

As an example: TransferWise, a peer to peer money transfer service is disrupting international remittances, by allowing users to send and receive international bank transfers in less than two days and at a fraction of the cost when compared to a standard banking service.

At the same time, fintechs have been held back in scaling their new propositions due to a lack of banking credentials, such as access to a larger customer base and expertise in managing regulation.

Established financial organisations have been burdened by their legacy processes and systems that are both difficult and expensive to reengineer. This has restricted a bank’s ability to adapt to the changing landscape and demand for inhouse innovation.

Banks have now realised that if they want to speed up their innovation they need to significantly increase their collaboration with fintech companies.

A New Relationship
Both fintechs and banks have realised that they are far better off as friends rather than foes. By collaborating, banks are able to launch new innovations and enter new markets at a price point and speed it would never be able to match in its own environment. In addition, fintechs gain access to banking expertise, regulatory know how and an expanded customer base.

Fintech Accelerators
Many leading banks are running startup programs to incubate fintech companies. London now has four corporate-sponsored fintech accelerators, intensive courses for start-ups that usually involve exchanging the start-ups’ equity for an injection of cash, as well as free office space and mentorship to accelerate growth.

MasterCard, Rabobank and Lloyds are providing mentorship, data and access to their systems’ software code as part of Startup Bootcamp, a global accelerator group that has launched a specialist fintech initiative near London’s Tower Bridge.

Other banks, such as Barclays are focusing on creating a global community for fintech innovation, including opening an accelerator in both London Shoreditch and New York’s Silicon Alley.

Venture Capital
As banks continue to engage with fintechs for their business models, this will result in a need for internal “venture capitalists”, to conduct detailed business model assessments that identify which fintech firms are a good fit for their respective banks. Several banks have already established their own venture capital funds including Santander which has established a $100million fintech fund, called InnoVentures, to invest in or acquire new companies.

In conclusion, the early impact of fintech galvanised the banking sector into action. Having operated from a position of relative safety, behind robust regulatory walls building large value chains, banks have recently found their highly visible and commoditised products being undermined and eroded by a new disruptive and agile competitor.

While the relationship with fintechs was initially adversarial, fintech firms are now being considered partners rather than competitors. Through a new form of partnership, banks gain access to pipeline of new innovative products and services, while fintech organisations gain access to banking expertise, regulatory know how and an expanded customer base.

In addition, the new collaborative environment will enable fintechs to scale their business and connect the bank’s customers to an innovative environment and an ever increasing range of differentiated products and value-added services.

Long may the new relationship prosper.

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Banking As A Utility Changes Everything

In today’s highly competitive landscape, banks are facing an ever demanding challenge from an increasing cost base and declining revenues, coupled with rising compliance costs and capital requirements.

At the same time, increasing customer demands, internal pressures to identify new streams of fee-based revenue and competition from the fintech industry are driving a desire for evolution.

At the heart of this modern-day Darwin evolution are a number of digital technologies from (i) Industry Utilities, (ii) Cloud Technology and (iii) Artificial Intelligence that will enable businesses to digitise and simplify their existing business processes:

1.Industry Utilities
Top tier banks are increasingly looking to adopt new utility based service models to drive down costs and increase efficiency in the middle and back office functions, such as risk management and compliance.

From 2012 to 2014, JPMorgan Chase added 13,000 new employees to support regulatory, compliance and control efforts, at a cost of $2 billion. Today, approximately 1 in 6 members of staff at the bank work directly in a control and governance function.

The emergence of new industry utilities, would allow organisations, such as JP Morgan, to migrate labour intensive control functions to a trusted third party. Key areas of focus for these new industry utilities include control functions such as customer onboarding, anti-money laundering and trade surveillance.

By making key functions such as risk management and compliance less complex and capacity-demanding, new industry utilities could free capital, improve the quality and efficiency of supervision, and reduce risk in the system.

Key to the success of this new digital utility will be cloud technology and artificial intelligence.

2. Cloud Technology
It is only now, with Cloud technology in its second decade that the perceived infrastructure, security and regulatory risks are starting to recede that banks are starting to accelerate their journey to the cloud.

Banks have traditionally kept close control of their infrastructure, building their own data centres and supporting large in house technology teams. This is set to change as Banks are under increasing pressure to reduce infrastructure costs and increase flexibility. Use of the public cloud enables a bank to increase its agility, without having to invest in capital intensive infrastructure, shortening the time to market for new products and services.

Global banks are now investing heavily in building out their public cloud platforms, engaging with multiple Hyper Scale cloud server providers, such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft, to maintain a competitive cloud ecosystem, that is based on open standards, avoiding by design proprietary technology and potential vendor lockin.

3. Artificial Intelligence
The combination of new cloud enabled utilities alongside artificial intelligence will enable a number of new propositions to be developed to provide improved customer insights with more informed commercial decisions.

One of the most interesting developments is “conversational commerce”, commonly known as a chat bot.  A chat bot is a software program that you can talk to from a messaging application, voice or website and are typically used in dialogue systems including customer service and information acquisition.

Conversational commerce, can turn dialogue and the verbal exchange of information, into a meaningful discussion with consumers and businesses alike.

The electronic brain behind the chat bot, is powered by Artificial Intelligence & Advanced Machine Learning. These systems have been developed to learn, adapt and respond autonomously rather than simply execute predefined instructions.

Within a bank a chat bot can help onboard a new customer, perform KYC (know your client) compliance checking through to executing a new trade, all at the pace of an instant message.

In conclusion, new industry utilities that are powered by cloud technology and artificial intelligence, will enable banks to reinvent the customer experience whilst also cutting down on costs for routine control functions that are manually employee intensive and ripe for automation.

It’s definitely exciting times as digital reboots the banking landscape.

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How to transform your business to a digital platform

When taking your business from a traditional IT model to a modern digital platform there are 3 key areas to review: Customer First, a Platform for Talent and New Ways of working.

Let’s review each one in turn to understand the key business factors that will make or break your digital transformation….

The key pinch point for business growth with a digital platform is to develop a customer first digital strategy.

The focus is to create a digital infrastructure that always supports customer’s needs. This includes delivering information to customers, using business intelligence and smart data analytics, to constantly improve the service to customers.

The CIO must harness technology as a tool, connecting internal users and customers to one another and the right information. For this, the CIO must provide the company with the infrastructure and information strategy, powered by smart data analytics, to enable new types of connections that provide new ways of sharing information to drive improved engagement with customers and prospects.

For example, existing connections such as mobile engagement, web based access and cloud based software need to be extended to drive new commercial insights to support a personalised service with real time customer engagement.

In addition, with data being the new golden thread for the modern digital economy, there needs to be a robust and well controlled security model that controls access and data usage across all users and stakeholders. This week we have seen a significant cyber-attack with the WannaCry ransomware virus, that can be traced back to the US National Security Agency, affecting organisations around the world, reminding us only too well of the susceptibility of our modern digital infrastructure.

Any IT platform has its risks that need to be actively managed, but a customer first digital infrastructure has the benefit of enabling us to be closer to our customers, delivering a personalised service with improved real-time engagement.

The skills required to be effective in the new digital data fuelled economy are shifting as the new language focuses on customers and the financial bottom line.

To proactively manage the skills gap CIOs should develop a platform for talent, creating a digitally proficient workforce by utilising key processes such a talent improvement, staff retention and benefits engagement, alongside focused training and development.

Hiring the right staff is paramount and the technology organisation needs to be smart about developing the skills with the current state to prepare them for the new technology challenge. For example, a key priority will be to build a team that can accelerate the technology value across the organisation and spark innovation with skills such as business relationship managers, data scientists and API developers.

The key to creating a new digital eco system is introducing new ways of working to develop an innovative and nimble culture that’s willing to take risks and move at a faster pace. This includes adapting an agile approach and putting innovation front and centre.

To successfully transform your business to a digital platform requires the need to embrace the new ways of working to become an agent of change in the new digital economy.

In 2014 Gartner introduced the term BiModal IT to reflect a 2-speed technology delivery model: Mode 1 is slow, steady and methodical, whilst Mode 2 is fast-moving and bleeding edge. Much attention has been given to the disruptive and innovative “Mode 2” teams building on the practices established by web-scale giants like Amazon, and Google.

Whilst Bimodal might appear to be a new word, it’s now a new idea that’s been embraced by the industry.

Bimodal and in particular Mode 2 is being further refined and developed with methodologies such as Agile development and Dev Ops to deliver increased velocity and software quality. These new methodologies provide well documented and best practice to introduce new ways of working that increase the agility and innovation of technology development in a digital marketplace.

These 3 key areas focus on accelerating your digital transformation: Customer First benefits the customer with the speed of information, a Platform for Talent supports the business with the speed of learning and New Ways of Working provides innovation and agility for speed of development. Combined they provide a modern digital platform that will not only support but also strengthen your digital business transformation.


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