It’s rare that the financial services industry (FS) is a leader in implementation of emerging technologies, but that’s indeed the case with blockchain and chatbots. Both of these technologies are transforming internal and customer-facing processes and adding new capabilities for FS businesses. Part of the reason this is happening now is because of a growing provider ecosystem and knowledgebase.
Blockchain Links Customers and Savings
In 2018, the industry spent $1.7 billion on blockchain according to research by Greenwich Associates. The typical top-tier bank now has a full-time team of 18 working on the technology, and one in 10 banks has a blockchain development budget that exceeds $10 million, according to the research firm. One of the biggest benefits of deploying a distributed ledger technology in the FinServ space is reduced operating costs, something that Arab Jordan Investment Bank (AJIB) was able to experience after deploying Oracle Blockchain Platform. AJIB was able to immediately reduce the cost of money transfers between subsidiaries by removing third-party intermediaries with accompanying fees and charges that occur at each transactional stage of a transfer. Users can build a blockchain network and let Oracle manage the network infrastructure (offsite or Cloud at Customer) as internal developers build contracts and applications on top of the network. The artificial intelligence (AI) that powers chatbots is built in to every layer of Oracle’s engineered systems
Chatbots Bring Costs Savings and Richer Customer Experiences
Chatbots, too, are becoming more common in FS. Like blockchain, conversational intelligence—aka chatbots—are becoming a part of the modern FS world. We’re seeing them in areas where there has been enough work done to develop rich data sets that go beyond the human ability to process. These intelligent agents could be customer-facing or be internal helpers for things like uncovering business insights or making recommendations for a client.
The key to user satisfaction is seamlessness. Nobody wants to be mired in a frustrating closed-loop conversation with a chatbot, but the good news is that the technology has evolved and works quite elegantly. Oracle offers a ready-to-go Intelligent Bot platform for customers to build a custom conversational interface that fits the needs of its customers.
One of the major reasons FS companies are experimenting with intelligent agents like chatbots is that certain customer segments prefer them because they offer a richer, more personalized and more consistent experience. From the business point of view, intelligent agents offer a way to standardize processes (such as onboarding and document retrieval), and they have an inherent audit trail and can be used for learning and teaching.
Bank of America rolled out its customer chatbot, Erica, last month after it demoed two years prior. The bank said it wanted to be sure users would have a smooth experience before introducing Erica, who can help customers in limited locations check their balances, remember to pay their bills, and find out information about the bank and its services.
The Necessity of a Cloud-Ready Infrastructure for FS
The predominate strategies for these technologies revolve around cloud enablement, which for FS involves the migration of the majority of existing applications and infrastructure into a cloud environment. To be effective at turning blockchain and AI into productive applications, developers need to abstract the complexity of enterprise technology, which is what cloud does. Additionally, cloud provides the limitless and scalable infrastructure for the much higher storage and compute requirements of these transformative technologies, and it can replace disconnected legacy systems with a stable foundation for the new workloads.
For example, Oracle Engineered Systems is cloud-ready and is purpose-built for the database where FS companies keep their most precious asset—their customers’ data. Leveraging the Oracle Database, Oracle blockchain technology, intelligent bot from the Oracle Cloud, and Oracle Engineered Systems on-premises infrastructure together as a holistic solutions provides the type of security and manageability required to thrive in this digital age.
People often ask “what’s next for blockchain and intelligent agents?”. The truth is, we don’t yet know because we don’t know where possibility ends. While we all didn’t get flying cars ala “the Jetsons,” we did however get the equivalent of Rosie the Maid in the form of Roombas, Nest thermometers, Amazon Alexa, and more… These two transformative technologies are not the end of the road; far from it. With endless experimentation with low-hanging-fruit use cases, who knows what tomorrow holds.