Just waking up from my well-deserved sleep the other day, my partner fires this question at me: “What do you think about metaverse?” “What?,” I responded, completely clueless about what I had just heard. My saving grace is that if I don’t know anything about something, I make it my business to learn and so I started digging and researching. John B. Shelton, PhD, in an article titled “The Rise of the Metaverse,” defines metaverse as a technological concept that goes beyond our current universe of neatly delineated physical and virtual worlds. It is simply a virtual reality in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.
In July 2021, the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, said in an interview that his social media giant will undergo a major transformation over the next few years and “effectively transition from people seeing us primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company”. I am not a fan of Manchester City but what is the most innovative sports team in the world, according to Sports Innovation, entered into a partnership with Sony Group Corporation through its subsidiary Hawk-Eye to use the team’s analysis and skeletal-tracking technology to digitally recreate Etihad Stadium for fans to explore .
Like elsewhere, the 4th Industrial revolution is dictating a lot of terms in banking and finance and most businesses will be affected because it is either a business entity adapts to catch the movement or it is left behind. The current buzzword is digitalisation but the rabbit hole goes deeper as there is a whole lot of stuff happening and trends dictating terms in modern banking.
- Business Intelligence
This is probably the most sought-after role. Most banks even locally are continually recruiting business intelligence specialists or managers or analysts. But what is business intelligence all about? In today’s business world, you can’t just do business or fly in the dark. There must be an infrastructure that collects, stores, and analyses data derived from an array of business activities. Once the data has been processed and analysed, the outcome should be reports that can be easily interpreted by users to indicate performance measures against set objectives, including trends to inform management decisions.
There are a lot of examples I can give in banking, information such as customers preferred touchpoints, peak hours for transactions or branch visits, uptake of products and services provide intelligence to inform or guide the business on tactics to avail resources such as customer facing staff, avoidance of downtimes at all costs during peak hours, adjustments of marketing strategy to address below expectation performance of certain products and services. Business intelligence gathered is key in making decisions to optimise overall performance.
- Artificial Intelligence
Note the term “artificial” as opposed to “natural” intelligence. Natural intelligence is the inborn IQ we possess as human beings while the former is regarded artificial since it is a computer or robot programmed to do tasks that are usually done by humans. As human beings, however, we always have limitations and there is only a certain amount of information we can store in our brains or algorithms we can run from memory while machines can be manipulated to store as much information as we want them to and make that information accessible at the click of a mouse.
Banks across the world now use AI enabled functions like Chatbot, Robo-Advisory, Predictive Analytics, Cybersecurity and Credit Scoring to better serve their customers and improve internal processes.
- Data Stewardship
Closely related to Business Intelligence, we need to live with the fact that in business the driving force to succeed includes use of data and information. Data stewardship is simply the management and robust oversight of an organisation’s data assets to help provide business users with high-quality data that can be accessed when needed.
Data stewards in an organisation are tasked with ensuring that there is tactical coordination and implementation of data safekeeping. Strict protocols in storing these data, and where and how it should be stored are some of their responsibilities. The data is also protected through establishing access rights of the users to avoid abuse of such data and give away competitive advantages. You have probably heard of data hubs or centres usually at a separate location from where business is usually conducted.
Sports has fully embraced datafication. STAT Sports GPS Technology, heart rate monitors, elevated cameras or drones are now part of modern sports. Even you and I don’t just go for a run; we rely on wearable gadgets to provide us with all sorts of data. The world of banking and finance is complex, and banks must deal with several dynamics and challenges, from the regulatory perspective, risk factors of managing clients’ capital and huge demographics of customers with a variety of needs and preferences.
Banks can only rely on data to best serve these customers. Imagine an international bank such as Citi Bank with over 200 million customers in over 160 countries. It is with total reliance on datafication techniques and insights that such banks are able to segment their customers, personalise marketing activities and assess risks in each jurisdiction where they conduct business.
As the world gets more complex, the market getting more competitive and customers becoming more sophisticated with things changing rapidly, it is through adoption of the latest innovations that businesses can cope some of these changes. The 4IR cannot be feared or deemed an expensive undertaking. Businesses must become a part of the revolution and adopting these latest technologies offers a better chance of survival, if not a competitive advantage.
LinkedIn: Gomolemo Kololo Manake