Artificial Intelligence

A.I. at the service of banking

24 January 2019

A.I. at the service of banking

For some years now new technologies have been completely swamping the banking sector with the introduction of new practices for customers. Brought in by Internet giants, these technologies have given rise to an enormous change in all communication, work and consumer habits.

Today, Fintech, which we are hearing more and more about, complete banks’ work by occupying a position in part or all of the value chain, at the crossroads between these new technologies and new banking practices. After losing its centrality in the customer’s benefit, the bank has to reinvent itself and find a way to take a stance in the customers’ digital activities.

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If the arrival of these new technologies represents a threat for some, they similarly mean a huge potential for the banks which are capable of mastering technologies. Artificial intelligence is one of the essential cornerstones of the digital transformation with these new practices.

Artificial intelligence is a technology enabling transforming, renewing, even inventing new business processes and new customer experiences in sectors which were not eligible until now.

Artificial intelligence adds value in three major ways:

  • The improvement of user experience, whether this is for a customer, partner or employee;
  • The optimisation of operational efficiency by improving processes, productivity and quality. More specifically, this involves the middle office and back office management processes at the company;
  • The much coveted improvement in sales, in a BtoC or BtoBtoC world.

In parallel, the transversal issue of resorting to artificial intelligence concerns the benefits of this technology. If this enables replacing tasks representing little added value for people, its main benefit – the most appealing one even -, this leaves the possibility of increasing dialogue and intelligence of human processes. Over time, this technology will indeed enable raising productivity of dialogues quantitatively and qualitatively, as well as cutting down wasted time.

Specific applications of artificial intelligence

With artificial intelligence we are capable of having a chatbot based on artificial intelligence available 24/24 to replace a real human dialogue. It is able to understand and provide a satisfactory solution to the bank customer’s problems. With its ability to be omnipresent, a solution based on artificial intelligence has extremely important interest and impact for customer satisfaction.

As regards increasing the human sphere, artificial intelligence-based solutions enable the bank advisor to tackle problems involving the complexity and the mastery of offers of products and services, as well as of regulations.

“It is vital to demystify artificial intelligence to be able to grasp its potential and understand what can be accomplished with this technology.”

By understanding the context of a talk between an advisor and their customer, AI enables the advisor to deliver the relevant message, the proper added value, and what’s more, even in the event of the advisor not mastering a required competence or subject.

Artificial intelligence in the banking sector

More than ever, it is vital to demystify artificial intelligence to be able to grasp its potential and understand what can be accomplished thanks to this technology. The last twenty years have indeed been marked by the industrial giants’ tendency to oversell the capacities of artificial intelligence.

Today, artificial intelligence is supported by two recent mechanisms: the large number of facts and calculation power. The task at this level is to be able to find a mature enough technology to be effective in customer cases and to have a satisfactory impact on the market level. For us the challenge thus means being able to define the true added value of solutions based on artificial intelligence without falling into over-selling solutions.

Developing solutions based on artificial intelligence is a genuine technical challenge insofar a stakeholder needs to be able to learn new linguistic skills to work on language-based cognitive systems. The same thing applies to Machine Learning which requires being able to work with Data Scientists. This thus involves skills in which there are tensions. It is therefore vital to be able to identify the right profiles, but also to develop our skills. This technical development thus entails a genuine change which must take place in all big organisations.

On a social level, even if intelligence is a vector for added value, this will endanger a certain number of jobs. Society must thus be prepared for this evolution right from now, specifically by stressing the fact that artificial intelligence will also be a factor for job creation. It will indeed bring up new needs which will require new processes and skills, but it is still too early to be able to say if the volume of jobs created will offset the number of jobs due to disappear.

There is also a gap in terms of appropriation of this technology on a worldwide level. While the use of artificial intelligence is no longer in doubt for the United States and Asian countries, the same thing cannot be said of Europe. Few European players stand out in the development of solutions based on artificial intelligence. There is a phase lag between the wishful positivism of Anglo-Saxons as regards artificial intelligence and the reluctance, even the questioning, of European stakeholders.

Perspectives

In a setting in which each solution is brought by a different stakeholder developing their own technology, the value of artificial intelligence-based solutions continues to be fairly atomised. The current effervescence will end up in the medium term by assuming a structure around the major technologies and big stakeholders.

What we are experiencing today with artificial intelligence is nevertheless comparable to what we went through with the mobile phone several decades ago now. We are starting to imagine functionalities, solutions and innovations based on artificial intelligence to improve a customer relation process with a chatbot, to make a predictive analysis on a financial report or to appraise the risks of fraud, etc.

Banks will thus be able to think up new scenarios for use more quickly by freeing themselves from the choice of IA technologies. It is also a driving force for integration in a technological ecosystem which is constantly on the move. It will enable banks to use the right technology at the right time to give an optimum service in the user cases that they wish to develop.

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