From the Jetsons to Alexa: The Future Is Now

The following is a guest blog post by Marianne Brown, Chief Operating Officer, Global Financial Solutions for FIS.

Remember that TV show, The Jetsons? It was this fun, quirky show full of all these tools and technologies that seemed like science fiction. Fast forward a few decades and many of those imaginative items are a reality. Hello, Rosie the Robot – who is now Roomba!

If you stop to think about it – you’ll recognize that the rate of transformation from then to now, has been exponentially fast. We don’t even blink twice at the technologically advanced tools we now use on a day-to-day basis, everything from our smart devices and virtual assistants to smart homes – where you can turn on your washer with an app and answer your front door from halfway around the world.

So, there’s no doubt the future is here. The question then becomes: What is our industry doing about it? We turned to FIS’ two signature research reports, PACE and Readiness, for more context.

First stop, the PACE (Performance Against Customer Expectations) report, which for the past five years has surveyed bank customers to determine their preferences, habits and behaviors. The pool of 4,800+ respondents from this year’s survey spans the range of demographics from young Millennials, who are “influenceable” because they choose their bank based on referrals, all the way through to Baby Boomers, who are loyal and prioritize familiar and personalized service. The takeaways from the report truly shed light on the varying expectations from each demographic, narrowing down their specific demands of their financial service institution.

The FIS Readiness Report, now in its third year, gauges the pulse of the institutions themselves (including the buy side, sell side and commercial and retail banking). We scored input from more than 2,000 C-suite executives and heads of businesses detailing their firms’ strategies and capabilities relative to six pillars of operations. Report findings highlight why the top 20 percent of performers – the “Readiness Leaders” – continue to grow revenue 2x as fast as the rest: it’s because they differentiate themselves in the areas that matter.  The Readiness Leaders are the most effective at channeling their strategies, focuses and investment dollars into the areas that match the demands of their clients.

If we turn to one of the key operational pillars – emerging technologies like artificial intelligence – we can better understand the differences in success between the industry leaders and the rest of the pack. Survey results suggest that many financial institutions are still just dipping their toes in the water when it comes to AI. They’re mostly utilizing AI to streamline their operations and address cybersecurity and fraud.

The Readiness Leaders, on the other hand, are much further down the journey – they’ve already built those foundations and now are at a stage where they are leveraging AI capabilities to truly enhance the client experience.

And this is why I urge us all to stop thinking digital and start thinking experience. Our reports highlight that a significant number of firms are channeling investments into digital layers, enhancing their front-ends, UIs, etc.; there’s no doubt that’s the hot spot.  But – news flash folks – if the stellar client experience stops there, at the front layer, then we are falling short of the expectations our clients have. That’s just us putting lipstick on a pig. The bar has been raised and if you want to get set to grow in this new age, you need to understand that expectations of a smooth and fast interaction span the entire lifecycle of the experience.

Another reality of the world we live in today – the experience is not just important for acquiring new clients – it’s equally critical to retain your existing client base.  The cycle of the relationship is changing rapidly, especially given how portable the world is now. In short: loyalty is waning overall!

For example, according to PACE, 61 percent of Gen Xers would move accounts in search of a better bank rate. Moreover, 68 percent of Millennials stop doing business after just one bad experience – that includes data breaches. So, while we look to offer the fastest, smoothest, most differentiated experience, it’s equally important to recognize the inherent assumption that we do it in the safest and most secure way. These are now table stakes.

FIS is empowering our clients to embrace this new world: find out more in the 2019 PACE findings and sign up to receive the 2019 Readiness Report.

Marianne Brown is the chief operating officer of FIS’ Global Financial Solutions (GFS) organization. In this role, Brown is responsible for developing and delivering FIS’ banking, payments, and institutional and wholesale offerings for large financial institutions and capital markets globally.

SIFMA Ops 2019FIS, a SIFMA Premium Associate Member and Strategic Partner, was an exhibitor at SIFMA’s 2019 Operations Conference & Exhibition. For 46 years, this conference has gathered operations, technology and regulatory leaders from across the financial industry. With the industry continuing to evolve in response to policy, risk, technology and regulatory changes, Ops 2019 delved into the dynamic and complex environment that is reshaping operations, the customer experience and market requirements. Watch livestream replays and explore more content from the event at