’Tis the season for predicting financial technology trends (and just about everything else!) for the coming year.
Already several crystal ball readers have weighed in. Other analysts, pundits, and vendors will surely follow.
Here are some of the trends to watch as seen by this first round of gazers:
Booz Allen focuses on developments in cybersecurity, data analysis, and increasing importance of chief information officers. The consultancy spells it out this way:
• As companies outsource logistics, business processes, and other core services, they increase their cyber risk by connecting their systems to those of other companies.
• The cyber threat facing the corporate sector—historically driven by state-sponsored attacks, organized crime, and hacktivists—is poised to grow exponentially.
• Increasingly, strategies for cybersecurity will shift away from labor-intensive detection and response, to more robust analytics and embedded network security.
• In another area, data fragmentation, leaders will streamline the technology powering information flow from data generation through consumption. Increased systems rationalization and a renewed focus on the organizational models required will also help tackle the fragmentation problem.
• Adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies increase automation, reducing the need for employees to handle the more mundane tasks, while accelerating the demand for employees to apply greater creativity and insight on more complex problems.
• Through crowdsourcing, hackathons, design thinking, and visual storytelling, CIOs will have a powerful set of creative tools to help their organizations become more agile and innovative, while opening new revenue opportunities. Other recent additions to the C-suite—such as the chief data officer, the chief analytics officer, and the chief information security officer—will also move in the same direction.
• Advanced analytics will enable organizations to achieve an unprecedented, 360 degree understanding of their customers, on a highly individualized basis. This will mark a shift from targeting broad demographics to greater segmentation and the forging of a one-on-one relationship with customers.
Juniper Research succinctly predicts further development of existing trends:
• Virtual reality will realize a watershed year.
• Wearables will go to work.
• Blockchain technology will be embraced by financial institutions.
• New security models will emerge.
• Crowdfunding will fire startup growth.
OpenSpan, which provides enterprise technology solutions, sees these as main challenges for 2016:
• Onboarding millennials—hiring, training, and adapting work interfaces to meet the touch-screen generation.
• Finding intelligent ways to reduce customer and employee effort.
• Addressing omnichannel integration, costs, and timelines.
• Gaining new insight into employee productivity—Are they engaged? What drivers are causing them to be disengaged?
• Building more extensible business logic around customer data.
• Aligning digital customer engagement technologies to traditional channels (i.e. connecting legacy systems and applications to cost-effectively make use of the Internet of Things.)
Research and advisory firm Ovum sees trends in enterprise content management:
• Disruption will occur in ECM as major vendors adopt a solutions approach.
• New opportunities for ECM in the cloud will emerge in 2016.
• Content analytics provides a better understanding of how content is being used and its value to the organization.
• Records management and e-discovery provisions are important components of a compliance and governance strategy.
• Information rights management and encryption help in the battle to secure content.
Protiviti, a consulting firm, narrows its trends to these two for 2016:
• Cybersecurity represents a strategic organizational risk and, not surprisingly, one that ranks near the top of finance functions’ priority lists. From a finance perspective, there are significant concerns regarding the security of financial information as well as the financial impacts of the security of all data. While IT often takes the lead in addressing this risk, cybersecurity is now a top boardroom issue as well as an area drawing substantial time and attention within the finance function.
• To help strengthen overall business performance and strategic planning, and to drive value from the financial data within an organization, finance functions want to develop better, more accurate, and timelier data collection, data analysis, reporting, budgeting, and forecasting capabilities. These corporate performance management processes are used to perform profitability analyses tied to customers, products, operating units, and geographies.
To be sure, more bulleted lists of 2016 predictions are likely to come, so stay tuned.
Sources used for this article include: