Reflecting on Forrester Fintech Predictions for 2017: Part 1

  • Xavier Marcillac, VP Sales APAC at Strands | Powering Fintech Innovation

  • 02.02.2017 09:30 am
  • Fintech Predictions , With over 20 years of experience selling the business value of great technologies to the financial services industry, Xavier leads Strands business development in the APAC region.


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A new year brings new opportunities for banks facing digital challenges and building next generation digital banking experiences. Advances in fintech technology are paving the way for better, more engaging experiences in 2017 and beyond. A few weeks ago Forrester announced 2017 predictions presented by Dane Anderson, Tim Sheedy, Tom Champion and Zhi-Ying Ng.

While forecasting the future can be a gamble, the first 3 Fintech Predictions summarized below provide an unmissable reflection guide to drive digital banking transformation between now and December.


Prediction #1: 80% of “digital transformations” will seriously miss the mark

Forrester argues that most companies are not serious enough about their “digital transformation”, unwilling to redesign their tech platforms, spending less than $15m, which is wholly insufficient for large firms. This is a pretty scary prediction. Fact is, most companies still don't understand what “digital” or “digital transformation” truly mean. They are not projects, not even a business - they are a reengineered way of doing business at its core, disseminated in the organization, culture and innovation of the company.

Besides not taking “digital transformation” seriously, companies still need to realize that it's a double-sided effort. The AT Kearney framework below illustrates three key dimensions to be redefined and redeployed, both internally and externally: customer centricity, organizational flexibility and agility / open innovation.


Source: AT Kearney Report

The most difficult challenge is to achieve an “inclusive digital culture” - the cultural transformation that will differentiate the winners from the losers, the leaders from the followers.

Prediction #2: Digital transformation will move from experiences to operations

Digital transformation has been primarily driven by customer interface redesign in most companies, leaving operations behind. The mismatch between front and back has gotten dangerously bigger, only linked by provisional middle patches. With high pressure on time-to-market, some have promoted a two-speed IT, which is “an admission of failure to transform”, according to Forrester.

New priorities are set for digitization, streamlining operations across designed experiences. 2017 will be the year of RPA (Robotic Process Automation), building robots to execute manually-intensive processes. Applied across the board, RPA will produce huge efficiencies. By refocusing on operational excellence, companies will start reaping the tangible cost benefits of digital transformation.

Prediction #3: Investments in AI will triple as firms work to convert customer data into personalized experiences

Investment in AI is the continuation (hopefully acceleration) of previous investments in Big Data and Advanced Analytics that clearly have not delivered on expected results. As Forrester points out,  “Only 16% of Asia-Pacific companies are very satisfied with their analytical capabilities.” So why would they get a better return on their AI investment now?  I’m not too sure.

We are already in the Machine Learning era of Banking. Banks are investing in Machine Learning to make Banking more personal, but they should not forget - there is no magical solution! To make ML work, data needs to be polished and rigorously refined before it can effectively be used to power excellent individual experiences based on behaviour and interests. Advanced ML solutions will help to generate results faster and with greater depth but it’s still up to humans to ask the right questions. So organisations will continue building stronger ML expertise and teams.

Stay tuned for part 2 to learn more about the digital banking trends to know in 2017. Hint: we're targeting automated conversational interfaces, mobile innovations and consumer usage of mobile apps.

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