Just ask the pros: automation is taking the financial industry by storm.
Are financial experts afraid of automation? Not exactly. If you talk to many of them, you’ll hear that technology has actually changed their jobs for the better and has positively impacted how they work in their organization by eliminating manual processes, increasing accuracy and efficiency, and facilitating valuable customer interactions.
For Fast Track this month, I rounded up some of the best thoughts on automation from big timers in the industry. Here’s what they had to say.
“Automation will change how we insure property, loan money, invest money, deliver technology, write research reports, and what professionals in financial services do every day. Every week in the news we read about a new application for artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks, or robots — whether it is self-driving cars, AI assistants, predictive models, robots building (or printing) hardware, or how to invest our money. Put these all in the category of automation — and that is what will impact finance the most in the next decade.” David Reilly, CTO of Bank of America, as told to Tina Wadhwa, Business Insider.
“Open digital technologies will continue to support finance transformation. Transformation is accelerating in terms of companies and people needing investment decisions, as well as the development and implementation of new business models. This will require increased automation and simplification to drive process efficiencies, increased analytics to provide high-speed business insight to drive better business decision-making, and, finally, better collaboration so business connects in a much more seamless way.” Richard McLean, regional CFO, Asia-Pacific and Japan, SAP, as shared on the SAP blog.
“We developed a chatbot named Eno, an automated program that can communicate with the bank’s customers via text message to give them information on their accounts and help them make credit card payments from their smartphone. The gender-neutral virtual assistant uses artificial intelligence to respond to natural language text messages from users about their money. For example, customers might ask Eno to show them their recent account balances or pay off a credit card bill.” Ken Dodelin, vice president of digital product development, Capital One, as told to Anne Irrera, Reuters.
“2017 will be the year that finance professionals eventually understand the massive opportunity that modern technology provides. They will stop optimizing and re-engineering existing processes (a bad process quicker is still a bad process) based on old technology limitations, but rather design optimal processes that leverage the limitless possibilities available now. Accounting is becoming a continuous exercise, reporting is in the moment, forward-looking planning is nimble and supports dynamic resource allocation, fraud and risk management are embedded in all processes, and, finally, automation and robotics will find their way into the finance department more than ever. It will be a new world that uses methodologies of the personal life and brings it into the finance profession.” Henner Schliebs, global VP Finance, SAP, as shared on the SAP blog.
“I am very optimistic about where we are going. Training artificial intelligence systems requires large datasets. Those who have the most data are the most able to adapt to the new environment and of course the banks and investment banks have reams of data. By 2020, we will really see radical change in the environment.” John Lowrey, global head of electronic markets in equities, Citibank, as told to Dan Barnes, Raconteur.
“Digitalization of the finance function will speed up the synchronization of streams of financial and non-financial data. Being able to view data across functional divides will drive finance’s ability to run advanced analytics and develop a big-picture view of how changes in the business affect financial results and vice versa. Finance will need to acquire technology architectures designed to integrate multiple platforms and data types into a single repository. At the most advanced level, new integrated planning systems should be able to connect data from factory floor machines all the way to the income statement. By crossing departmental barriers, new cloud planning solutions are enabling advanced analysis. For example, finance can ask how a change in product design will cascade through the cost structure and affect margins. These new tools often come with self-service capabilities, allowing business partners to test the financial impact of multiple scenarios.” Kevin McCollom, global VP, GRC Go-to-Market, SAP, as shared on the SAP blog.
Do you work in finance? Do you agree with these assessments? Move your financial processes from spreadsheets and email to the cloud.