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“If I don’t find you on Google I’m moving on!” - Part 1

02 May 2018Myra Knoesen

In part one of this article we will take a look at how technology has fundamentally shifted the way we live and how we do business, and the way it is reinventing financial services.

A need to change and adapt
According to Innovation Group’s 'The Future 100: Trends and Change to Watch in 2016' report, technology continues to be the thread that ties emerging consumer trends together - even outside the technology sector, numerous patterns are changing states of mind as individuals adjust to our inexorably computerised society.

The internet of things is slowly, but surely, changing the way in which we communicate, interact and connect with clients. Efficiency and accuracy, according to the report, are at the forefront within the digital world where downloadable apps for unique experiences and the cloud, amongst many, are taking center stage.

Companies, the report states, are slowly adopting innovative products and new technologies as a means to stay competitive and edgy. Gadgets, working frameworks and even applications are being implemented. Organisations are rapidly acknowledging that advancement won't just originate from utilised people or divisions but instead from the organisation overall, creating an urgent need to change and adapt.

This digital migration
Moshe Tamir, Global Head of Digital Transformation at Generali, speaking at the Discovery Financial Planning Summit on 29 May 2017 at the Sandton Convention Centre (https://goo.gl/flh13g) said, “There are five billion mobile users around the world, more than half of them using smart phones. Social media surpasses any other internet activity. On average, in America, a person spends six hours per day on web, mobile and social. In Asia, the numbers are even higher.”

In South Africa, there are 80 million mobile subscribers and the average user spends three hours per day on his / her device. This digital migration, Tamir noted, is driving exponential growth in innovation globally. Previously, world-shifting developments like the printing press and the telephone might happen every hundred years or so. Today, new technologies are released on an almost weekly basis.

Tamir quoted former Google CEO Larry Page, who famously said, “We are no longer living in a mobile-first world, we are in a mobile-only world.”

Reinventing financial services
Technology has fundamentally shifted the way we live, from our communications to entertainment and how we do business, and its reinventing financial services. As an example, Tamir cites Lemonade – an insurer shaking up the industry. The company’s app gives users an end-to-end mobile experience with the brand – something Tamir terms a “pure mobile” experience.

Another company that has put the power of technology – specifically social media – to use is eToro, a social trading and multi asset brokerage company, with 4.5 million users in more than 170 countries worldwide.

All of this points to the fact that there is a massive shift in customer expectations, Tamir says. “People want a mobile experience.”
Yet, despite innovators like Lemonade and eToro, Tamir believes financial services are generally lagging behind in meeting these expectations, due to factors like regulation and legacy systems. There is a gap between where customers are spending time and where financial services businesses are focusing their value proposition.

In part two of the article we will look at the impact of social media on the financial services industry.

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Can true value be found in social media engagements with clients?

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