CFOs are emerging as the driving force behind technology in finance today. The growing pressure on financial institutions to develop a tactical digital transformation strategy has unleashed the next wave of technologies that hold the promise of revitalizing, reshaping and ultimately revolutionizing the world of finance.

CFOs Are Embracing the Results

In an Accenture Strategy survey, one-third of the CFOs who responded are seeing results materialize from implementing a digital transformation strategy, while 82 percent have seen a measurable business ROI. Digital has become the primary sales channel for 62 percent of consumers and the only channel used by 46 percent.

According to Fox Business, JPMorgan Chase revealed that mobile banking deposits cost the bank only $0.03 per transaction compared to $0.08 for ATM and $0.65 for branch deposits. The bottom-line improvements have contributed to the 18.8 percent one-year gain in equities for the banking sector, as tracked by the XLF exchange-traded-fund (ETF) as of close on December 11, 2017. Pairing these gains with increased adoption of mobile banking from the consumer sector make it a necessary investment for financial firms.

By being able to use these digital technologies, banking institutions can change how they reach their customers, expedite financial processes and gain new insights into daily operations.

The Evolution of Technologies

Digital innovation has moved beyond mobile applications, data analytics, social media and cloud computing to blockchain technology, artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation and security intelligence, leaving no shortage of technologies to transform finance as we know it.

But since some of these advancements may take time to fully permeate, CFOs and CEOs are looking toward the opportunity that mobile devices bring to finance, with 33 percent adopting mobile technologies as part of their strategy, according to Accenture.

By starting with an investment in mobile technologies, finance organizations can create an infrastructure built for digital growth with technology such as chatbots and blockchain.

The exhilarating growth and adoption of online and mobile banking apps has inspired banks to get fully immersed in a digital transformation strategy. Seeking to parlay that success into new offerings, banks are shuffling furiously to integrate transformative technologies like blockchain, which can eliminate third-party processors to ensure frictionless, secure, borderless and instantaneous transactions, trades and settlements — from tablets, smartphones and more.

Additionally, AI-powered virtual assistants will elevate mobile banking to a new level. Predictive analytics will be able to provide recommendations, financial research and management, and real-time fraud detection. Additional Accenture research revealed that 76 percent of banker respondents believe AI will emerge as the primary engagement interface for most banks by 2020.

These emerging technologies will streamline processes and enhance the end-user experience both inside and outside of the bank. Applications will become more intuitive and human engagements will be enhanced with more personalized content.

The Transformation of Finance Roles

Not only does digitization bring new technology into an industry or organization, but it also requires new ways of thinking from the top-level executives and decision-makers. Accenture notes that transformation requires organizations to “move beyond digital lite,” and identify true opportunities across the entire organization for mobile technology and beyond.

For consumer-facing applications, this means bringing more capabilities and functionality to mobile banking apps and outfitting branch locations with tablet kiosks and signage.

Within the organization, equipping employees with technology that allows them to do their work from anywhere at anytime not only increases efficiency, but allows them to keep up with the pace of the financial sector.

Transformation is also its own catalyst, as digital transformation spawns new technologies that will require the capabilities of a new breed of finance roles. Data scientists are empowered with operational and programming abilities to extract, refine and interpret massive big data. Scenario planners use the refined data to generate and analyze scenarios, and calibrate and develop simultaneous adaptive models.

Looking Forward in Finance

Those who have yet to embrace a digital transformation strategy are quickly falling behind the curve on a path toward extinction as competitors continue to widen the distance, with mobile technology being at the center of this revolution.

Smart ATMs, robo-advisors, chatbots and virtual assistants serve to automate banking tasks currently reserved for their human counterparts. The pace of technology in finance is accelerating as emerging applications are reshaping the roles and landscape of this ever-changing industry.

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