As we discussed in my last blog, this year’s Accenture Technology Vision report emphasizes the importance of making technology work for people. Based on our global survey of business and IT executives around the world, we’ve identified five technology trends that could shape capital markets in the next three years. Today, we’re taking a closer look at how firms could capitalize on these technologies to augment human skills, and empower their customers and employees.

1. AI, the new UI

As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly sophisticated, we’re witnessing its transition from a back-end tool to a front-end user interface. With this growing role for AI comes a growing imperative for C-level direction, investment and strategy. Done right, this technology has the potential to not only increase efficiency, but also make interactions simpler and more natural for customers and employees

A global investment bank, for example, recently deployed an AI technology solution to mimic the work of human engineers in an IT environment. The result? A 93 percent reduction in average resolution and fix time, from 47 minutes to just 4 minutes.[1]

2. Ecosystem power plays

Some capital markets firms are building their own digital platforms, but more and more organizations are choosing to leverage the services of third-party providers and redefine their roles in the value chain in a focused way. You don’t necessarily have to be the hub to get the most value out of a digital ecosystem. You just need to know your firm’s strengths and competitive advantage, connect to the right ecosystems and come prepared with a strategy.

Goldman Sachs comes to mind. The firm is now allowing its rivals to sell their own investment products through a Goldman web application called Simon. Instead of focusing solely on selling its own products, the firm has recognized the value in creating an online platform capable of connecting financial advisers seeking structured notes with the banks that issue them.[2]

3. Workforce marketplace

The line between employee and contractor is blurring, as on-demand labor platforms gain traction and leading capital markets firms seek to reinvent their workforces. This new workforce marketplace can make it possible to closely match supply and demand for skills, making organizations more flexible and more nimble than ever before.

UBS’s buy-side focused portfolio analysis and risk management platform is an example. The firm has been using an Agile development framework to create and deploy teams to projects, and achieve a new level of liquid workforce optimization. There’s no doubt that certain approval processes have been automated as part of this initiative, but what really stands out is how developers have been empowered to step out of their siloes.[3]

4. Design for humans

Instead of people having to adapt to machines, we’re beginning to see machines adapt to people. The age of digital customization has yielded vast information on how humans interact with technology—and the unprecedented computing power we need to analyze it. Today, capital markets firms find themselves able to personalize and optimize customer and employee interfaces like never before.

Businesses like Betterment are helping investors reach their long-term goals by understanding and reacting to their behaviors. Recognizing that many consumers tend to trade too often and overreact to market volatility, the company’s website actually discourages action by not including daily portfolio performance metrics on its dashboard.[4]

5. Uncharted territory

New technologies are not only changing the face of capital markets products and services, they’re also redefining how capital markets function day to day. From new technology standards to new ethical norms and new government mandates, capital markets firms have an opportunity—and a responsibility—to work with regulators and other stakeholders to help shape the rules of the game.

ING and Société Générale recently teamed up with global commodities trading corporation Mercuria to test a blockchain-based trade finance solution. The scenario? An oil trade between Africa and China. Everyone involved in the transaction—including banks, traders and agents—were able to execute their roles directly on the platform. It was a major step forward in an area of business that’s considered highly complex, labor intensive, and prone to both fraud and delays.[5]

The next move is yours

The capital markets industry is on the move—and it’s up to you to keep pace. Visit the Accenture Technology Vision 2017 website for trend highlights, videos, and detailed 100-day and 365-day plans to help you get started.

[1] http://www.ipsoft.com/wp-content/themes/ipsoft_v2/attachments/services.pdf
[2] https://www.wsj.com/articles/goldman-sachs-has-a-new-model-apple-1477863314
[3] http://www.waterstechnology.com/waters/feature/2451862/adequately-agile-firms-eye-agile-method
[4] https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-human-technology-design
[5] http://www.businessinsider.com/ing-and-socgen-partner-on-blockchain-solution-2017-2

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