No doubt, artificial intelligence (AI) is a buzzword right now. Most of your boards are probably asking you, “What is your AI strategy?" and “What do you plan to do about AI?" Among the more than 200 financial services clients that we serve worldwide, I don't know if I have heard two answers to that question that are the same. That is appropriate, however, because the answer should vary depending on the vision of your organization. AI is a means to an end, an enabler to enhance the experience between your users or customers and your business, rather than the end goal.
Depending on geography, we are seeing different responses to AI. In Asia, for example, there is a sense of urgency, adoption, and aggressive tech hunger around AI. On the other hand, Australia is now in a situation similar to the one the U.S. was in a few years ago. The Royal Commission has come in and is pushing hard on regulatory issues and oversight. So Australia is adopting AI, but almost reluctantly. In Europe, there are a lot of profitable banks. As a result, there is a resistance to change that results in slower AI adoption. In the US, and to a certain extent Canada, we see a very practical, pragmatic approach toward using AI to drive efficiency, speed, value, and safety. The response to AI varies by region.
Regardless of the region, when I'm asked “What should our AI strategy be?" I ask in return, “What do you want your business to be? How do you want to engage with your customers?" Because, the truth is, AI can be used anywhere, in any channel, even in your back office. Instead, what it comes down to is the experience.
In the financial services industry, we are seeing a transformation from a product-centric banking ecosystem to an experience-centric banking ecosystem. For example, banks are moving from selling an auto loan to facilitating a car-buying experience. AI can influence and improve this experience. In fact, AI will inform the whole process – everything from how you find a customer to how you service a customer and how you manage the products they consume.