AI Growth In The UK Financial Services Industry!

As more and more industries embrace artificial intelligence, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that its impact on growth and development is a fruitful one. Especially in banking! Some of the largest banks have already taken the initiative to implement AI! They are using it in their front- and back-of-house operations – reaping the benefits and outshining the competition as they progress with certainty into the future. 

Whether it’s creating effective data pipelines, implementing machine learning or developing interactive chatbots, AI is quickly branching out and changing things for the better. And no matter which way you look at it, pretty much every industry will be transformed by this emerging technology in some way or the other.

Digital marketing agency, Sagittarius, and cloud-hosting and consultancy company Wirehive, partnered up to research how AI is changing the UK financial services industry.

Services – Chatbots, NLP and Personalisation

The research conducted found that enhancing customer services is one of the biggest motivators in adopting AI – with 40% of the interviewed banks giving this as one of the primary reasons to engage in AI implementation. They are all well aware of the benefits that it could bring the industry as a whole.

NLP (Natural Language Processing) is one of the processes being used to program and enhance customer interactions through chatbots. These chatbots provide users with 24/7 access to banks in the case of any queries or questions that need clarifying. Chatbots can provide users with immediate feedback, assistance and insight at any time of the day without hassle. This helps customer from waiting for operating hours to be assisted and given advice or guidance,

People are also becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of interacting with chatbots, as the communication process is becoming more fluid and easier to engage with.

One of the other benefits of the advanced features of customer services through AI is personalisation for the end-user. Rather than dealing with monotonous service and a lack of attention, AI can personalise customer treatment. This could include personalised advice, content, opportunities, insurance offers and more. This allows for more loyalty from the customer and far more opportunity for the banks implementing this technology.

With only a fifth of interviewed banks being comfortable with their investment in the next 3 years, they were mostly interested in financing customer service (71%) and data and data analytics (71%).

Interestingly, the perceived impact of particular AI functions (ranked according to low, medium and high impact), the most significant perceived impact was customer service at 29% on high impact. In comparison, data and data analytics received 43% for medium impact.

Data and Data Analytics

The other biggest reason for adopting AI is the benefits that data and data analytics can bring to banking. It was found that this was the biggest reason why banks invested in AI, as 50% of the banks that were interviewed are aware of the benefits that come with implementing it. 

Data and data analytics mostly refer to the handling of big data (vast amounts of data that need to be processed by data engineers) and the generation of insight. These allow banks to automate specific tasks and services, ultimately resulting in reduced operating costs.

Some of the most distinct advantages that AI and data provide is to back-office processes. Whether this is to keep track of backlogs, manage tedious processes and increase workflow efficiency (which will allow more time for staff to focus on high-value tasks). 

These advantages extend to predictive analytics through the use of big data. This helps with forecasting market outcomes and reducing financial risks through deep learning and neural networks. With AI, big data is also transformed into operational intelligence, which helps with the company’s day-to-day decision-making.

Other Findings And Insights (Benefits and Barriers)

Some of the key findings that the research found is that more financial services organisations are prepared to embrace AI in their systems, strategy and data availability.

All of the interviewed organisations already use cloud services or infrastructure (often more than one service), with 60% using Microsoft Azure and around 30% for AWS (Amazon Web Services).

Not every organisation understands the use or benefits that come with AI – 10% understand it very well, and 50%, quite well. Yet 60% of the interviewed banks are aware of how AI can be of practical use in their business. There’s undoubtedly a massive shift taking place!

The findings also showed that the most significant perceived benefit was that the automation of tasks would help reduce costs and save money in the long-run. 

Some of the most significant barriers that AI currently faces in the financial industry are specific organisations’ reluctance to implement this technology due to a lack of understanding and a lack of resources. Due to a lack of skills and staff adoption and a lack of investment and the justification of investment – AI implementation is either being highly outsourced or discarded from planned investment.

The findings have already confirmed that AI will enable financial services companies to prosper through improved efficiency and a better, more tailored customer experience.

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Ian Lilleby

Ian Lilleby

Ian Lilleby is teraflow.ai’s Chief Growth Officer. Ian has 25+ years’ experience across a range of sectors leading industry digital transformations through the adoption of AI and other emerging and disruptive technologies to deliver commercial outcomes.

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