The 3 Ps For Prosperity in FinTech

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Patricia Partelow

Global Digital Commerce, Payments & Technology Innovation Leader across Financial Services, Consumer Products and Travel
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Over the holiday break while doing the consummate holiday cooking and baking, I had the opportunity to reflect on the numerous events of 2015 in the financial services industry. Events like the further development of omnichannel commerce, the proliferation of mobile payment apps, the efforts to enable faster payments, the increased industry focus on cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technology, the growing supply of wearables and smart devices and the platforms and capabilities to capture, analyze and action the insights generated. There was so much innovation for one industry in one year and no indication that the intensity will slow in 2016.

In analyzing these events, three factors that companies need to consider to be successful emerged. I call these the three Ps for Prosperity: Participation, Personalization and Protection. While my original focus was on the financial services industry, these three factors apply to any company in any industry offering goods and services to customers.

Participation – You Have To Be In It to Win It

To remain relevant over time companies need to understand new disruptive innovations. The pace at which these innovations are being introduced is constantly accelerating forcing companies to be more and more agile.  Companies will need to assess what capabilities are needed and how to get them as quickly as possible. The best route may be through partnerships and acquisitions. (See my earlier post here.) As the technology footprint and needed capabilities expand into ecosystems, it is no longer feasible to assume that all will be housed under one company’s roof.   This will require establishing trust across all parties.

Personalization – Markets of One

Personalization ensures companies can offer relevant products and services to their customers. In today’s world of connected devices consumers expect that the messages and offers they receive are tailored to their needs, especially if they are an existing customer. They expect that companies can piece together their interactions and profile data to formulate a holistic picture of them as a customer. Combine that with social media, smart device and environmental data and companies can start to capture the attitudes of their target market and predict behavior or need. Mining the data allows companies to create ideal profiles to target potential customers and gather precious feedback on their products and services. The definition of a brand is the promise of a consistent experience. Customers expect that interactions be consistent across channels and be made with intuitive interfaces. Advances in data analytics – processing large amounts of structured data and unstructured text, applying machine learning – give companies the capability to better understand their products and markets. The ability for mass customization allows companies to create markets of one – relevant offerings at scale.

The fear in doing this well is that consumers will feel that their privacy has been violated. But if the interactions provide value consumers may acquiesce. And over time the privacy “line” will shift. As trust is built, the experience becomes similar to that of dealing with a local merchant where it is expected that they know who they are and can almost predict what they want to buy based on past purchases. The challenge in the interim is not to cross the line by using data that the consumer would deem too sensitive.

Protection -In God We Trust, All Others Bring Data (W.E. Deming)

The need for security increases as more smart devices come on line, more data is generated and more solution sets require multiple parties. In an Internet of Things (IoT) world, end-to-end cyberphysical security is required to authenticate and secure the physical device and the data generated as it passes between multiple players in the IoT ecosystem. In the Deloitte 2015 Global Mobile Consumer Survey, with regard to the IoT, out of the top six concerns on why consumers would not adopt smart home technology, the top three were all security related and the next three were all privacy related. * In the end, it comes down to trust between all parties.

Companies need to be stewards of their data ensuring all laws and regulations are followed. It not only builds consumer confidence but mitigates reputational risk. Protection of data in a digital world is table stakes.

Go Forth and Prosper

Consumer expectations are increasing. Companies that can embrace applicable innovations can lead the market today and ensure they don’t get left behind in the future. But it needs to be done in a secure manner and protect the individual’s data privacy. Companies that participate, personalize and protect will prosper!

* http://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/global-mobile-consumer-survey-us-edition.html

Search words: Digital innovation, Fintech, IoT

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