As 2016 drew to an end, social media and technology research sites made their technology predictions for the year ahead. A quick comparison between articles written today and a year ago show little has changed. Digital disruption, the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR) are still hot topics and I expect they’ll remain so for a long time yet.

Themes for investment banks

In January of 2016, I wrote a blog that outlined the areas in which our clients in financial services were spending most of their time and money. There were four common themes MDs of global investment banks were interested in:

  1.       Regulation and compliance
  2.       Big Data
  3.       Digital transformation and the threat of digital disruption
  4.       The Blockchain

The above list is based purely on casual discussions rather than deep, scientific studies, but my conversations throughout 2016 have largely revolved around the same topics as the previous year.

Firstly, let’s look again at regulation and compliance, something you can expect to hear a lot more about in 2017. The London Stock Exchange’s Brian Schwieger told Reuters: "For everyone, 2017 is flat out about getting their final preparations in place for MiFID." And Financial News reported that, of 300 compliance professionals and risk managers, 63 per cent of respondents at investment banks and 75 per cent of respondents at buy-side firms, expected their compliance and technology related activities to increase in the next year. A nice breakdown of buzzwords in FinTech and RegTech, and their relationship with Big Data, is in this report by Deloitte.

Google the term Big Data and you’ll find an endless list of links with an endless list of definitions. This blog post by our User Experience Designer Tamara Chehayeb Makarem, gives an interesting overview of how businesses are using Big Data. She states: “The main challenge businesses face today is getting the best value from the data they have”; an issue many of Scott Logic’s client’s face.

Digital transformation or disruption covers a numbers of topics. The move away from legacy systems with microservices and modern platforms, open APIs, Agile working, and digital customer journeys, all fall under disruption. There is a big risk to large banks that don’t adapt to such technical innovations, especially as small, dynamic challenger banks with low cost bases enter the market. This report by BankingTech provides a great oversight into the challenger banks aiming to shake up the banking world. How will the big banks react in 2017? Will they use their deep pockets to swallow up the disruptors, or suffer losses in market share as millennials move their cash away from traditional high street banks?

Blockchain continues to dominate the technical press and although at this early stage we can’t be sure exactly how it will change banking, the big players are investing heavily in it. R3 appears to be the Blockchain front runner as it brings together 70 of the leading global banks. However, recent reports from the likes of Cryptocoins suggest Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan have left the Blockchain party early, raising a number of questions about how big banks can successfully join forces and work together.

looking further ahead

Looking further into 2017, Scott Logic will continue to investigate, research and develop solutions for the above. We’ll also be looking closely at Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, which have the potential to impact almost every industry sector in the future. AI has many practical uses but it’s in conversational user interfaces that our clients in customer facing departments are specifically interested.

Scott Logic’s Head of User Experience, Graham Odds, recently presented his take on how companies could communicate with their clients in the future. As companies rush headlong into app development and quirky chat-style communications, Graham has been exploring how companies can integrate their existing services into the likes of Messenger and Whatsapp. Although Apple will not give us the statistics, there are a number of sources that tell us we’re not downloading as many apps as we once were. Graham’s presentation is incredibly insightful and provides a view into how we could be interacting with our phones and banks in the future. Looking ahead, I suspect Scott Logic will have many more meetings around conversational commerce.

2017 promises to be another interesting year and no doubt we’ll have another portmanteau to join the ever growing list that includes RegTech, FinTech and InsurTech. Will ChatTech be next?