Innovation, Analytics, Customer Centricity, Agility, Speed to Market, Efficiencies – no you are not reading through our keywords list; these are the common themes that were brought to light by FST Media’s Technology & Innovation – the Future of Banking & Financial Services event.

This year’s event was by no means subdued. The numbers seemed to be up with a packed audience all day on both days. As previously mentioned, the key themes weren’t missing. However, while repetitive, it was refreshing to see that the industry was no longer presenting these themes as new concepts or ideas but rather as a business imperative. Innovate or die may have been a better summation.

Rocky Scopelliti from Telstra set the scene by reminding us that we are no longer in the age of information but in the age of personalisation; it’s all about leveraging the information and no longer just accessing it. While the term analytical competitor isn’t new, it was also evident that only a few organisations have managed to leverage that beast, and the road ahead is a long and bumpy one.

The stratification I observed at the insurance event last April is also present in the banking industry. Some are unmistakably engaged in their transformation program. They are halfway if not two thirds there with clear strategies, and they are already reaping benefits. Others are still held back by old infrastructure, organisational culture, budget constraints, the overall cost of compliance and in some cases, denial of the impending threat.

One thing that stood out this year was the sense of urgency; there is no time to waste. Customer expectations are driven by their experiences with products and services from other industries. They have embraced technologies such as mobile devices and even the Internet of Things. They are not looking back. Gen Y grew up connected with mobile devices in hand. This is how they live and the industry must transform itself significantly just to keep up. The threat of new entrants − especially technology ones like Google, PayPal, Apple and Amazon − or from smaller, agile, nimble players (e.g., Square and peer-to-peer lenders) is real. Will the regulations protect the industry and buy some time? If so, how much time? Dave Currant from Westpac reminded us that “it is a race” and stressed “we need to be more proactive than reactive and disrupt ourselves.”

The event also put the spotlight on some technologies such as the Cloud and Analytics.

Interestingly enough, the main driver for cloud adoption is not cost but agility, as explained by Micha Helbig from Infosys and illustrated by Simon Andrews from ING Direct with the “bank in a box”. Furthermore, Cloud services providers are adding more capabilities such as analytics to increase revenue streams and compensate for the “race to zero”. There is no doubt that analytics are increasingly playing a significant role for this data-rich industry.  Business Intelligence from data gathered from devices, wearable technology, transactions, social media etc. is the perfect companion to one-to-one marketing of unique and best-fitting products and services. The goal is to align with the customer’s lifecycle to predict and meet the needs and exceed expectations as Adrian McKnight from Suncorp explained.

To celebrate our very first sponsorship of FST Media’s Technology & Innovation event, Cincom is giving away a GoPro Hero4!