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How Trendy are Financial Services?

Deloitte Insights video

Social business, mobility, gamification – it seems technology buzz words are proliferating faster than you can figure out how they apply to your business. In many ways, however, financial services are primed to take advantage of emerging trends. Mobility can provide customers with bank account balances anywhere, any time. Gamification can internalize leaderboards to capitalize on employee passion and improve productivity. Tune into this episode of Deloitte Insights to hear more examples and insights.


Richard Walker, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Seth Siegel, Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP


Sean O’Grady (Sean): Hello and welcome to Insights where today we will be discussing the application of the latest trends in technology to the Financial Services Industry. Joining us on the desk in New York for this conversation are Seth Siegel, a director within Deloitte Consulting's Technology Strategy and Architecture practice, and besides Seth is Richard Walker. Richard is a principal, also within Deloitte Consulting's Technology Strategy and Architecture practice.

Richard, what are the Tech Trends that you think are most relevant to the Financial Services Industry (FSI)?

Richard Walker (Richard): Well Sean, in looking at this year’s Tech Trend list of disruptors and enablers, I think that in many ways, they will all have an influence. But two that really jump out for me are gamification and big data. First, gamification. Gamification is really bringing some gaming techniques into the core of the enterprise.

Sean: Like what exactly?

Richard: It’s taking leaderboards, it’s taking achievements, it’s taking some of the gaming principles and bringing them into operations, bringing them into call centers, creating an environment which is really highly conducive to Financial Services because Financial Services is a leaderboard type of industry. Investment Banks have their league tables. Retail Banks have the various stats and metrics that are published by American Banker, very much like Major League Baseball. Taking some of those external metrics and really driving them into the day-to-day operations and what people do from sales in the front office to training, back to middle and back-office activities — we can have a big impact on driving process transformation.

Sean: It sounds like a little bit of fun too, the high score and the meritocracy.

Richard: Well, that is really the point, right. It is fun and it is passion about what you do, and is being able to see the impact of your efforts.

The second one is big data. Now, big data is really taking all of the structured and unstructured data that an organization has, within and outside its walls, about its customers, and putting it to use in a meaningful way. Historically, Financial Service firms haven’t been that great about data management, about data access, and about putting data into action for the benefit of their customers, their regulators and their employees. If you look at what has happened over the last few years, much of that is due to the inability to provision data and make good decisions based on that data.

Big data in 2012 is really about leveraging three trends. The first one is new data structures, in-memory databases and database appliances. The second one is the maturation of some of the analysis tools, visualization tools. And the third is being able to incorporate unstructured data into existing enterprise data warehouses. We think these three trends will have a really big impact on how Financial Services companies put the data they have into action.

Sean: And how about you, Seth, do you agree with that?

Seth Siegel (Seth): I do. I believe that when you look at all of our enablers and disruptors, they really do apply to the entire FSI industry. However, when we think about those that are very specific, such as enterprise mobility unleashed, and what that means to the environments of our clients, right now it's great to say that I want to have mobile everywhere, that I want to allow my employees to be able to be productive everywhere, that I want to be able to give my clients the ability to access me anywhere. But frankly, the mobile environments of Financial Services firms are catching up with the market realities that telcos are currently able to provide. Right now, when we look at applications that people are using and apps people are downloading, they are no longer going to individual websites, to think about the Swiss Army knife for example of what a website is. They are looking at applications for very specific functions and Financial Services firms are having to revisit and think about what mobility means. It doesn't just mean going to a website on any device, it means enabling clients to be able to access very specific functions at the time that they require them.

Sean: So, being a little more surgical.

Seth: Absolutely, and think about the number of applications that people have on any of their devices. They are rarely this sort of basket of things, they are basket of individual tasks. So, how do you capture the eyeballs of clients, as well as how do you enable your employees to be able to be productive really on any device at anytime, anywhere. What we also think about is measured innovation. So, when we say measured innovation, what we are talking about is it is great for everyone to want to be the next Apple. It’s great for everyone to want to be the next Facebook, but really what does an innovative culture look like? What does an innovative company look like? Disruption, and disruptive innovation, and disruptive markets are rare and far and few between. However, when one thinks about how you can do incremental and measured innovation to be able to drive out not just better costs or incremental revenues, but in fact to actually think about how do I have culture-changing events? To have an organization think about how do we move to a more innovative culture? - are very, very important in Financial Services in 2012.

Sean: Clearly, we are talking about the Financial Services industry, so which of these Technology Trends are going to be driving value to the bottom line?

Richard: So, Sean, I think one of the opportunities we have in the Tech Trends 2012 is to look at a hybrid of some of the themes. There is one combination of ideas, which we call SOGAMO, which is Social, Gamification and Mobility. Bringing those three things together to fundamentally enhance, change, transform, extend the customer experience, as well as the employee experience, and how they engage with the company, with the bank, the insurance company, or securities firm, an asset management firm, will unleash new product innovation opportunities, as well as take advantage of brand loyalty, collaboration and participation in creating new products for companies. These three things specifically, the buzz of social, I think the stickiness of gamification, and anywhere anytime of mobile, together will have a big impact. On the last point, the anytime anywhere, Financial Services are particularly well suited to take advantage of mobility because the products are information based. You don't have to go to a store or branch to get them, across all Financial Services lines. Those products can be designed, specified, priced and purchased, and put into action where you want that product, where you earn money and where you spend money, and we think this is going to have a big impact on revenue opportunities.

Sean: Moving the bank off of the brick-and-mortar and into your pocket potentially. How about you Seth, your view on the bottom line for these Tech Trends.

Seth: We think that “big data going to work” is going to be another path to monetization in 2012 for Financial Services organizations. It is functionally going to be finding a needle in a stack of needles. When we think about, what big data means, it’s all of the petabytes of data that flow through Financial Services institutions on a daily basis, and how do you actually go out and figure out how am I going to mine that data? How am I going to make money on that data? If you think about the concept of, if I am an insurance agent, how am I able to get very specific product offers based upon the physical location that I may be at that point in time? How do I offer new products based upon customers, based upon their locations for banking products? How do I actually capitalize and monetize all of the data that Financial Services institutions have without being deluged at the same time?

Sean: I enjoyed you needle in the stack of needles analogy and it made me think about my next question for you and that is especially now in the Banking Industry, so identifying regulation in a stack of regulations, do you think that any of these Technology Trends might play a role there? Is there a value add as it pertains to regulations?

Seth: Again, when you look at big data, all major Financial Services institutions, regardless of what sector they are in, have recently announced chief data officers. That just reiterates the importance of data to Financial Services organizations. Regulators want to be able to get the data they need. Financial Institutions want to get them the data they need quickly because the faster they can get the data to the individual regulators, the lower the cost of regulation will be. So, when we think about where regulation is in 2012, it is still an evolving marketplace. We still have long-term rollouts of Dodd-Frank. There are still settlements across industries regardless of sectors and segments, and the ability to get the information that you need to your respective regulators, whether it is a local, state, or federal provider, will help Financial institutions to be able to mitigate their cost of regulation.

Sean: And Richard, final thoughts over to you on regulation.

Richard: On regulation, we think that gamification could have an impact there as well, because to define a game win conditions, you need to have a set of rules. Those rules, when applied to a process, can drive increased transparency and measurable compliance with implementation to support some of the regulatory frameworks that are in the market today.

Sean: Pretty exciting stuff. Gentlemen, thank you both for joining us today.

Okay, we have been exploring Technology Trends in the Financial Services Industry with Seth Siegel and Richard Walker. If you would like to learn more about Seth, Richard, or any of the topics discussed on today’s broadcast,you can find that information on our website, it is For all the good folks here at Insights, I am Sean O’Grady, we will see you next time.

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