Is It Fintech Or Techfin? (Part 1)

Chris Skinner

In conversations with bankers and startups, it is clear that there they have differing views of the world. It is not as clear-cut as “nimble innovator versus dinosaur incumbent,” which is how many portray the chasm, but there is a radical difference in thinking, perhaps best summed up by a banker’s recent comment to me: “surely this is Techfin rather than Fintech.”

I thought about what he meant and realized that this is the subtle difference between the innovator and the incumbent. An innovator thinks of this as Fintech: taking financial processes and applying technology. Incumbents think of this as Techfin: taking technology to work with financial processes. This difference in thinking, although subtle, does create a very different thought process and output in the way technology is used. So I thought I would delve a little deeper, as this is a key to seeing how the world differs between the innovators and incumbents.

First, the startup Fintech firm. This firm looks at the world through the eyes of a technologist. This means that the start point is technology. Apps, APIs, analytics, and more are the foundations of their thinking. Open source, open operations, open thinking are at the heart of their culture. Embracing diversity and working globally without reference offices or structure are the tools of their skillset. And a mentor, an angel, and an investor are the base capital requirements to get them started.

This startup begins by thinking about how technology could transform financial processes. This means that they take something that exists – loans, savings, investments, payments, trading, and more – and think about how they could reinvent these processes. Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is a good example. When Zopa started in business in April 2005, they told me about their business model and it sounded weird, to be honest. “We’re an eBay for loans,” they told me. “You give us your money and we lend it out on your behalf. You get better interest on your money than you would with a savings company, and people pay less for their loans,” they continued. “Want to invest £10,000?”

No way, as it sounded crazy. An untested, unproven business that would take my investment and manage the risk of lending that investment to borrowers? An eBay for loans? That’s startup thinking. A decade later, that startup is taking over £1.2 billion in funds from over 53,000 consumers to lend at the most competitive rates in the UK. In fact, the startup P2P model is so popular that it’s been copied worldwide. The US is one of the fastest growing markets – over $8 billion has been loaned, doubling year-on-year. It is why Lending Club had one of the hottest IPOs of 2014 followed up by SoFi receiving over $1 billion investment in its latest funding round.

These are significant numbers, but nowhere near as significant as the forecasts by banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Goldman Sachs predicts that almost $11 billion of bank profits from lending will move to the new startup social economy by 2020 – about 5% of the current market – while Morgan Stanley estimates that global marketplace lending should reach $290 billion by 2020, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 51% from 2014-2020, and China and America the two largest markets.

Base Case: Global marketplace lending can reach $290 billion by 2020, with expected CAGR of 51% from 2014-2020.
Base Case: Global marketplace lending can reach $290 billion by 2020, with expected CAGR of 51% from 2014-2020.

And this is the key to the innovators’ Fintech thinking: How can we take an existing market with a middleman and replace the middleman with a technology intermediary? That is what Bitcoin is focused upon – replacing the bank with the Internet for value transfer; it is what new trading schemes like T0.com focus on – replacing the stock market with the blockchain; and it is what firms like TransferWise and Currency Cloud believe – replace FX markets with P2P connectivity to enable money to move.

There are many more examples. The rapidly growing and disruptive Fintech scene is hot because it is all about using technology to transform financial processes. The incumbent thinking of the Techfin is very different.

Thanks to the Internet, mobile technology and soon the Internet of things, people, places, organisations and objects are linked together like never before. Learn more about The Hyperconnected Economy and how that’s changing how we work and connect.

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About Chris Skinner

Mr. Skinner is chairman of the Financial Services Club, CEO of Balatro Ltd. and comments on the financial markets through his blog the Finanser. He can be reached at Chris.Skinner@BalatroLtd.com

Cybercrimes Now Force Rethinking Public Safety And Security

Mohammed Karzoun

Public safety and security is a conceptual dynamic that hinges on the perception of the community related to the well-being of the people. At its core is the way individuals perceive and identify with threats and how authorities respond to those threats. This contemporary paradigm has the potential to create a safer world by effectively utilizing cutting-edge technology and advances.

Public safety agencies are operating in a fast-changing world. Evolving citizen expectations for safety and trust, new threats and patterns of crime, and increasing pressure to improve operational efficiency are driving a re-imagining of public policy. Should public safety leadership focus on fighting crime efficiently? Or should it focus on gaining public trust? Forward-thinking public safety leaders realize that to build legitimacy they must improve crime prevention and public trust. Police technology and digital applications offer public safety leaders ways to do both.

Criminals are becoming smarter, more technologically advanced – even collaborating in what’s called “Crime as a Service.” New patterns of crime are surfacing, such as organized crime, terrorism, drug production and distribution, human trafficking, and cybercrime. Public safely agencies need to work hand-in-hand with citizens to be steps ahead of the criminals.

The difficulty arises when considering the diversity of communities, often conveying contradictory priorities, demands, and concerns. This results in a complex policing model, where each facet has to be covered adequately and differently. Digital policing needs to encompass transformative solutions that are as much about citizens feeling secure and protected as apprehending offenders.

Cybercrime investigations adapt to the changing archetype

The increasingly sophisticated criminality of cybercriminals ensures that modern communities are facing an ever-changing and evolving threat to public safety, in the form of terrorism, conflicts, and the malicious use of technology. The continuously increasing frequency, scale, and severity of cyberattacks must be fought on the same turf.

Embracing the power of real-time analytics and situational awareness, wrong-doers can be identified based on the cornucopia of data generated daily and in real time.

  • Solutions can be found by using this data to identify and subsequently eliminate threats. By integrating various databases from different agencies and cross-referencing information for possible criminal activities, government can effectively derive meaning and take action against these crimes, often preemptively.
  • Cybercrime investigation management needs to take a holistic approach, from beginning to end. To ensure human resource capability and competence, investments must be made into front-line empowerment with skills such as investigative case management.
  • Incident response time is an important factor when garnering community support, and all incidents. Internal and external events and emergencies must receive a prompt response. Situational awareness is essential, supporting officers’ ability to sense, analyze, predict, and act with immediate effect.
  • Cybercrime units are at the forefront of forensic investigation and must be trained to comply with correct and legally binding methods for evidence collection. The benefits of a functional, successful cybercrime investigative unit will have far-reaching consequences, in that it can process cases faster, improving the ends of justice.

Digital government can protect our children

Society must do all it can to protect our children from those who exploit technology to create misery, loss, and ruin. Digital and real-time technology should be used to detect, deny, deter, and disrupt predators.

Governments can use technologies to develop strategies, programs, and policies to protect children and achieve predictive real-time situational awareness with effective operational models.

Social media analysis, especially in contemporary society, is a valuable platform for providing leads and investigative trails against child predators. Sentiment analysis – determining emotional responses and feelings based on text or words – is also invaluable in the investigative procedure, as it can facilitate behavior prediction and insights into criminal activities.

The future of public safety

Digital policing epitomizes the future of public safety, providing heightened awareness, better risk mitigation, improved situational awareness, and enhanced threat anticipation. All will lower the crime rate and effectively reduce the impact of emergencies and disasters.

Technology can improve preparedness, which is demonstrated by increased operational capacity, better adaptability and agility, reduced response time, and, consequently, reduced risks and threats.

Real-time solutions and technologies can support public security agencies by connecting local, vital information – such as traffic, police cases, crimes, disasters, social media, and public events – and making them available in real-time so law enforcement can sense, analyze, predict, and respond effectively and efficiently to prevent crime and protect citizens. Efficient security response and technology capabilities result in improved trust and respect for authorities.

Superior incident resolution, better detection rates, and reduced time to justice all positively affect the community, and digital policing embodies this ethos.

Cybercrime is a bottom-line concern. See The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage.

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Mohammed Karzoun

About Mohammed Karzoun

Mohammed Karzoun is the Industry Leader for Public Sector at SAP. He manages government, smart cities, healthcare, public security, defense, higher education, and postal services sectors across the United Arab Emirates and Oman. With 20 years of experience in primarily public sector transformation, Mohammed has been engaged with multiple government entities to help drive their strategies and digital transformation initiatives.

Automotive: The Age Of The Mobility Ecosystem

Dean Afzal

Ask any automotive executive the following question: “Which part of your car generates the most power?” Their answer will likely influence your purchase decision significantly. If that person answers, “the engine” or “the powertrain,” you’ll know you are dealing with someone at least 10 years behind the times.

The part of a car that generates the most power is the smartphone. It is the centerpiece of everything that happens between the car, its owner, and its manufacturer. It is its intelligence, its security system, its entertainment, communications, and commerce hub. Increasingly, as car-hailing apps like Lyft and Uber have shown, it is also the device that gets cars and people together, in innovative and versatile ways.

This is a revolution for the automotive industry. It is an age unlike any that has come before. For the past 100 years, improvements have been made to all the physical components of a vehicle, from tires to roof, and from fuel economy to safety. But throughout all of this, a consumer’s vehicle has remained a mechanical possession, generally owned by one person at a time, remaining parked and idle for most of its life, and generating revenue for the manufacturer through sales, maintenance, and repair.

The advent of the smartphone, with its app for everything and its universal accessibility, has changed the relationship on all three sides of the consumer-vehicle-manufacturer triangle. This is now the “post-ownership future.” The commercial tenure of a vehicle has grown exponentially and has crossed borders into other areas of consumers’ lives. Automotive companies are recognizing this, but it remains to be seen just how well their reactions can keep pace.

The mobility ecosystem

In the post-ownership future, consumers, dealers, and manufacturers alike are learning how to exist in a mobility ecosystem. Those are powerful words. Mobility connotes far more than mere car ownership. It includes ride sharing, car sharing, usage by the hour, and using alternate forms of transport as needed. It can also include not moving at all, but arriving virtually through tools like Skype and Facetime from the front seat of your parked vehicle.

“Ecosystem” brings to mind a remarkably connected and symbiotic existence, where a driver’s music or podcast collection hands off effortlessly to the onboard entertainment system, where turn-by-turn directions and real-time parking space information arrives just when it is needed, where car and owner communicate via smartphone, and where car and manufacturer communicate via the house WiFi.

The mobility ecosystem demands an experience

The 20th century model of ownership is fading away in all areas of commerce, not just automotive. Consumers are now looking for experiences. They expect to rent and consume products based on their preferences. They arrive well prepared and turn to their smartphone for reviews, comparative data, and options. This means automotive companies, as well as all other types of vendors, must evolve from product sellers to purveyors of value and experience.

This transition towards experience extends beyond the smartphone, of course, but still orbits around it. While the customer uses her smartphone to learn and decide, so, too, the vendor can use the same medium to contact individual consumers, build a direct, personalized relationship, and collect vital data along the way. Some examples of this new automotive marketplace include:

  • Ford’s spin-off company, Ford Smart Mobility, dedicated to including innovations like advance booking of parking spaces in cities and at airports. This provides an added service to the car usage experience, while allowing Ford to expand into and monetize hitherto untapped aftermarkets, in this case, the $7 billion/year parking industry.
  • GM and Toyota, which each are offering car-sharing programs based on the Zipcar model.
  • Ford, which is testing an Airbnb-style car sharing program, leasing a single vehicle to a group of people rather than to one person.
  • Cadillac, offering a $1,500 per month subscription service, giving members access to a variety of models to fit their daily needs. They have seen just how big a bite ride sharing has taken out of the market, and they want it back.

This transition is the reason why dealerships are being retooled to become the face of the brand experience. Since shoppers can now go online to do all the research they need about models and warranties, they are cutting back on dealership visits substantially, turning instead to online brokers, many of whom represent more than one brand. This demands more tailored relationships, proactive customer service, and improved financing options to win back trust and convert visits to sales.

In the mobility ecosystem, automotive manufacturers may not ever have to provide every service themselves, rather they will be the proactive hub where industry partners, distributors, and consumers mingle and coexist. Manufacturers must move to the front lines, rather than residing as the anchor at the back. They can and must deliver the immediacy and interactivity demanded by their customers. By doing so, they will own and control the customer data and the end-to-end customer experience, which in turn will fuel their future prosperity.

Own your automotive marketplace

In the automotive industry, a vehicle is becoming just one part of a new marketplace for mobility – one that focuses on service, personalized shopping experiences, and real-time communication.

With the help of technology solutions, automotive companies can:

  • Interact directly with customers and own the experience
  • Harness customer data
  • Fulfill orders through channel partners, avoiding channel conflict
  • Meet customer expectations for B2C-style experiences

Want to learn more about selling directly and creating a bigger value pie for all? Check out the latest Forrester Custom Technology Adoption Profile, commissioned by Mirakl and SAP Hybris.

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Diving Deep Into Digital Experiences

Kai Goerlich

 

Google Cardboard VR goggles cost US$8
By 2019, immersive solutions
will be adopted in 20% of enterprise businesses
By 2025, the market for immersive hardware and software technology could be $182 billion
In 2017, Lowe’s launched
Holoroom How To VR DIY clinics

From Dipping a Toe to Fully Immersed

The first wave of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is here,

using smartphones, glasses, and goggles to place us in the middle of 360-degree digital environments or overlay digital artifacts on the physical world. Prototypes, pilot projects, and first movers have already emerged:

  • Guiding warehouse pickers, cargo loaders, and truck drivers with AR
  • Overlaying constantly updated blueprints, measurements, and other construction data on building sites in real time with AR
  • Building 3D machine prototypes in VR for virtual testing and maintenance planning
  • Exhibiting new appliances and fixtures in a VR mockup of the customer’s home
  • Teaching medicine with AR tools that overlay diagnostics and instructions on patients’ bodies

A Vast Sea of Possibilities

Immersive technologies leapt forward in spring 2017 with the introduction of three new products:

  • Nvidia’s Project Holodeck, which generates shared photorealistic VR environments
  • A cloud-based platform for industrial AR from Lenovo New Vision AR and Wikitude
  • A workspace and headset from Meta that lets users use their hands to interact with AR artifacts

The Truly Digital Workplace

New immersive experiences won’t simply be new tools for existing tasks. They promise to create entirely new ways of working.

VR avatars that look and sound like their owners will soon be able to meet in realistic virtual meeting spaces without requiring users to leave their desks or even their homes. With enough computing power and a smart-enough AI, we could soon let VR avatars act as our proxies while we’re doing other things—and (theoretically) do it well enough that no one can tell the difference.

We’ll need a way to signal when an avatar is being human driven in real time, when it’s on autopilot, and when it’s owned by a bot.


What Is Immersion?

A completely immersive experience that’s indistinguishable from real life is impossible given the current constraints on power, throughput, and battery life.

To make current digital experiences more convincing, we’ll need interactive sensors in objects and materials, more powerful infrastructure to create realistic images, and smarter interfaces to interpret and interact with data.

When everything around us is intelligent and interactive, every environment could have an AR overlay or VR presence, with use cases ranging from gaming to firefighting.

We could see a backlash touting the superiority of the unmediated physical world—but multisensory immersive experiences that we can navigate in 360-degree space will change what we consider “real.”


Download the executive brief Diving Deep Into Digital Experiences.


Read the full article Swimming in the Immersive Digital Experience.

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Kai Goerlich

About Kai Goerlich

Kai Goerlich is the Chief Futurist at SAP Innovation Center network His specialties include Competitive Intelligence, Market Intelligence, Corporate Foresight, Trends, Futuring and ideation. Share your thoughts with Kai on Twitter @KaiGoe.heif Futu

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Jenny Dearborn: Soft Skills Will Be Essential for Future Careers

Jenny Dearborn

The Japanese culture has always shown a special reverence for its elderly. That’s why, in 1963, the government began a tradition of giving a silver dish, called a sakazuki, to each citizen who reached the age of 100 by Keiro no Hi (Respect for the Elders Day), which is celebrated on the third Monday of each September.

That first year, there were 153 recipients, according to The Japan Times. By 2016, the number had swelled to more than 65,000, and the dishes cost the already cash-strapped government more than US$2 million, Business Insider reports. Despite the country’s continued devotion to its seniors, the article continues, the government felt obliged to downgrade the finish of the dishes to silver plating to save money.

What tends to get lost in discussions about automation taking over jobs and Millennials taking over the workplace is the impact of increased longevity. In the future, people will need to be in the workforce much longer than they are today. Half of the people born in Japan today, for example, are predicted to live to 107, making their ancestors seem fragile, according to Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, professors at the London Business School and authors of The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity.

The End of the Three-Stage Career

Assuming that advances in healthcare continue, future generations in wealthier societies could be looking at careers lasting 65 or more years, rather than at the roughly 40 years for today’s 70-year-olds, write Gratton and Scott. The three-stage model of employment that dominates the global economy today—education, work, and retirement—will be blown out of the water.

It will be replaced by a new model in which people continually learn new skills and shed old ones. Consider that today’s most in-demand occupations and specialties did not exist 10 years ago, according to The Future of Jobs, a report from the World Economic Forum.

And the pace of change is only going to accelerate. Sixty-five percent of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist, the report notes.

Our current educational systems are not equipped to cope with this degree of change. For example, roughly half of the subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree, such as computer science, is outdated by the time students graduate, the report continues.

Skills That Transcend the Job Market

Instead of treating post-secondary education as a jumping-off point for a specific career path, we may see a switch to a shorter school career that focuses more on skills that transcend a constantly shifting job market. Today, some of these skills, such as complex problem solving and critical thinking, are taught mostly in the context of broader disciplines, such as math or the humanities.

Other competencies that will become critically important in the future are currently treated as if they come naturally or over time with maturity or experience. We receive little, if any, formal training, for example, in creativity and innovation, empathy, emotional intelligence, cross-cultural awareness, persuasion, active listening, and acceptance of change. (No wonder the self-help marketplace continues to thrive!)

The three-stage model of employment that dominates the global economy today—education, work, and retirement—will be blown out of the water.

These skills, which today are heaped together under the dismissive “soft” rubric, are going to harden up to become indispensable. They will become more important, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, which will usher in an era of infinite information, rendering the concept of an expert in most of today’s job disciplines a quaint relic. As our ability to know more than those around us decreases, our need to be able to collaborate well (with both humans and machines) will help define our success in the future.

Individuals and organizations alike will have to learn how to become more flexible and ready to give up set-in-stone ideas about how businesses and careers are supposed to operate. Given the rapid advances in knowledge and attendant skills that the future will bring, we must be willing to say, repeatedly, that whatever we’ve learned to that point doesn’t apply anymore.

Careers will become more like life itself: a series of unpredictable, fluid experiences rather than a tightly scripted narrative. We need to think about the way forward and be more willing to accept change at the individual and organizational levels.

Rethink Employee Training

One way that organizations can help employees manage this shift is by rethinking training. Today, overworked and overwhelmed employees devote just 1% of their workweek to learning, according to a study by consultancy Bersin by Deloitte. Meanwhile, top business leaders such as Bill Gates and Nike founder Phil Knight spend about five hours a week reading, thinking, and experimenting, according to an article in Inc. magazine.

If organizations are to avoid high turnover costs in a world where the need for new skills is shifting constantly, they must give employees more time for learning and make training courses more relevant to the future needs of organizations and individuals, not just to their current needs.

The amount of learning required will vary by role. That’s why at SAP we’re creating learning personas for specific roles in the company and determining how many hours will be required for each. We’re also dividing up training hours into distinct topics:

  • Law: 10%. This is training required by law, such as training to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • Company: 20%. Company training includes internal policies and systems.

  • Business: 30%. Employees learn skills required for their current roles in their business units.

  • Future: 40%. This is internal, external, and employee-driven training to close critical skill gaps for jobs of the future.

In the future, we will always need to learn, grow, read, seek out knowledge and truth, and better ourselves with new skills. With the support of employers and educators, we will transform our hardwired fear of change into excitement for change.

We must be able to say to ourselves, “I’m excited to learn something new that I never thought I could do or that never seemed possible before.” D!

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