The Earnix team has just returned from the FinovateSpring FinTech conference in San Jose, CA. In case you’re not familiar with this conference – it’s two days of seven-minute software demos, 74 presentations in all. It’s intense. It’s techy. And amazing. This is my fifth Finovate event in the past eight years – it’s a great way to experience financial industry innovation and thought leadership while peering into what this increasingly dynamic space could look like two years ahead.
Earnix used the occasion to launch our new banking user interface. The feedback was overwhelming! Who would have thought that providing a simple yet powerful predictive analytics tool for non-technical business users would generate so much positive buzz?
I was amazed by how many people were wearing suits. When I first starting attending, it was a casual, laid back, tech atmosphere. Naturally, this begs the question: can a tech conference with people in suits still be cool? Is this proof that FinTech has officially gone mainstream?
But what I really want to share are my key takeaways from watching a large number of FinTech demos:
- Many financial services companies are successfully managing the deluge of big data, leveraging solid cloud infrastructure and data management software. That said, firms still struggle with how to get tangible value from all this data. It is no coincidence then that a number of solutions presented this week featured machine learning and data mining as a means to drawing actionable insight from big data – finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. Although we continue to add more complexity, there is still a need to simplify – to spend more time executing on insights.
- Cross-channel customer experience is still a challenge for most financial service providers. There were a number of slick software solutions aimed at using mobile devices to dramatically improve the customer experience on the web, call centers and even branches. Solutions such as these can only help increase customers satisfaction – particularly for millennials, a notably weak spot for traditional banks.
- The robo-advisor space is going to be crowded in the coming years. It doesn’t surprise me that this sector is one of the strongest areas of investment. Mass affluent and even affluent investors can be hugely profitable if served efficiently and effectively. As a tech-savvy Gen Xer, the notion of talking to an individual to get investment advice seems anachronistic to me. I can’t imagine how quaint the same notion must seem to millennials as they begin to build wealth and look for financial advice!
- Finally, the most striking thing about this year’s conference is how focused the demos were on solving tangible core business problems in financial services. I can’t tell you how many presentations I’ve sat through (in past years) for yet another social-media-driven PFM tool or payments rewards program – solutions looking for a problem
After years of heavy investment in analytical technology and talent, EVERY banker we talked with still has a problem resolving their most fundamental business issues – how will customers respond if I change my price? How can I use price to drive incremental volume so I can achieve aggressive growth. goals? How should I respond when a competitor lowers price and is stealing market share?
I’m proud to say we are doing our part help the industry by focusing on solving core predictive analytics problems. More than ever, we look forward to future Finovate conferences as FinTech continues to support financial services companies rather than position itself as an alternative.