The financial sector is riddled with tech jargon, and it’s confusing professionals across the industry. CEOs and CIOs, in particular, find themselves in hot water if they can’t instantaneously spell out what they’re doing on digitization, cloud services, and hyper-automation. The phrases “user experience” and “cognitive theories” get thrown around often as well.
The trouble with buzzwords, of course, is that they’re just that. These phrases catch clients’ attention because they sound edgy. But that doesn’t mean much if a company’s leader can’t articulate what these concepts actually mean and how they apply to his customers’ businesses.
Learning the language
The following buzzwords are dominating the financial tech space right now:
- User and customer experience: Enterprise companies approach the user experience through customers’ eyes. They differentiate themselves through intuitive designs, rapid access, and elegant mobile and web interfaces.
- Agility: Digitally proficient organizations anticipate changes in their clients’ needs and respond quickly to market forces. Their organizational structures rely on agility so they can pivot their strategies as necessary.
- As a service: The “as a service” model gained prominence in recent years thanks to an ongoing emphasis on cost reduction. Rather than build their own infrastructures for software, security, data storage, and other essential functions, businesses want to outsource these jobs to specialized firms.
- Cognitive computing and machine learning: This category refers to critical but repeatable tasks such as client onboarding. When performed by humans, these jobs consume tremendous amounts of resources. Machine learning uses machine algorithms to capture information about these tasks and automate them without the need for expensive employee input.
- Blockchain: Blockchain technology is poised to be the most disruptive technology in the financial space within the next five to 10 years. It provides secure alternatives to traditional ledgers, offers innovative global payment options, and removes many of the inefficiencies associated with current financial transactions. Blockchain could also accelerate the rise of disintermediated banks.
- Cloud: Private cloud services enable enterprise businesses to reduce costs without compromising data security. Cloud technology creates a central data center that lives online instead of on costly in-house servers that are vulnerable to hacking and physical wear and tear. Such services also offer scalable plans so companies can expand their contracts on an as-needed basis.
Staying current on industry trends is crucial to serving clients effectively. But CEOs and CIOs must grasp the complexity of different technologies to apply them to real-world business situations. The proliferation of buzzwords in the financial tech space oversimplifies the scope, design, architecture, and integration challenges inherent to new technologies. Business leaders need to know not only what the jargon means, but also how to use the tools.
Incorporating groundbreaking tech into business
Each of the above phrases gets bandied about tech circles for a reason. Yes, they’re buzzwords. And yes, they lose their impact when they’re used without thoughtful context. But companies that invest in these trends are equipped to provide clients with valuable counsel and support. Here’s how businesses can cut through the noise and make the most of the groundbreaking technologies:
- Evaluate how to remove friction in business. How can a company redesign its business processes and simplify its environment using the cloud? What could blockchain do to remove steps in evaluating financial transactions? For instance, while hyper-automation and cognitive computing sound cool, they also reduce costs and improve productivity.
- Identify areas that promise quick returns. Business leaders should streamline the user experience through simple, intuitive features. They can evaluate everyday business functions that can be outsourced to “as a service” providers to save money and alleviate bloat within their organizations.
- Identify partners and suppliers that provide end-to-end support. Fragmented companies are ineffective. An organization should seek out partners that really understand what it's doing and can provide custom support throughout the relationship. In fact, decision makers need to make sure they’re agile enough to shift gears as their company changes. If the business is scaling up, their offerings should scale with it.
- Build cross-functional teams. Siloed departments represent the opposite of agility. Fast-paced financial companies can’t afford to have employees working independently of one another. Team members across the organization should be collaborating on new initiatives, updating one another on market dynamics, and brainstorming new customer experience strategies. Cross-functionality encourages automation and innovation throughout the company.
The jargon may be confusing, but today’s hot concepts can have real impacts on a business. When business leaders boil down the latest trends to their actual values, they will prove transformative to their organizations and clients. From gaining market shares to client retention and acquisition to bringing new products to market, these buzzwords aren’t just generating attention — they’re also bringing the heat.
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