The Future of Finance 2019

We look at changes that need to happen in 2019, if Financial Service providers can actually “provide” what you and I want.

The upcoming Future of Finance conference at Hurlingham London in a few weeks, is a landmark – a pointer in the sand if you will, a meeting place where key decision makers in the financial industry can meet to discuss well, where is their market going, and by implication, where are they themselves going?

There is a suspicion that actually, they are not going anywhere. This is reasonable or understandable. It is far easier to paper over the cracks, and this is seen in the way such organisations create “transformation teams”, but still retain the same people and attitudes;  change people’s job titles, play musical chairs with executives, or focus on costs savings – but still carrying the same methodology and still looking at costs instead of looking at efficiency. The two are not the same.

Yet there are two areas that can make a difference, and they simply require a cool look at how you and I behave. In particular; how do we prefer to access our financial info; and what sort of info do we want to have. 

Key vertical market in this, is the rise of the self-service private client – the guy who has savings but where the return on investment is nothing when compared to actual portfolio investment. Surely there are now sophisticated tools that can algorithm all this stuff for the man in the street? Indeed there are. The Tetralog company in Munich (as an example) focus on this sort of Robo Advisory that still retains the use of the face to face Advisor – but gives the client the info in a way he can understand and monitor, automatically. There is nothing worse than seeing graphically how your savings otherwise  are gradually deteriorating over time.

Equally important, is the tangential thinking that wakes up to the fact that, with mobile technology, we are all different now. The irony is that this is not a tech discussion, but a business discussion, by people who may not necessarily be financial – but who can spot how people want to work in the future. Richard Copland, formerly CGI Logica and now Partner at The Futureshapers told me; “ executives no longer have time to take a pause or have the courage to throw out legacy solutions, or legacy ideas”.

But throw things out, they must. And this includes being very open to new ways of doing things. 

We expect the winners in 2019 to be those organisations who are prepared to back their hunches, and the losers? Well, they will be the ones who carry on as before.

Is it OK to Talk to Each Other?


We look at the growth of interest in IQPC Exchange business networking and ask – after years of not talking to anybody, is it now Ok for our corporate leaders to engage with actual people? We report from back from the Chief Data Officer event a few days ago in London.


Absolutely it is. The problem has always been one of habit and even avoidance. Those of you who make corporate decisions have become immune to the deluge of unsolicited emails, and it had bred a culture of avoidance rather than working together.


Yet after decades of difficulty in getting traction, the reality of life has hit home and corporates are now waking up to the fact that talking with people, sharing ideas, saves making mistakes, following wrong paths, and getting faster where you want to be. In short – things have changed.
This is not the first time that the IQPC company have been spreading this gospel; their Exchange programme of events has been running for several years. But our recent visit to the Hurlingham Club and the Chief Data Officer conference for financials – was the first time we have noticed that leading decision makers are not afraid to interact. It is an important milestone.


The Exchange format focuses on a simple reality that bringing people together – vendors with corporates – decision makers with influencers – enables a sharing of experience. It allows corporates to focus on vendors who have something beneficial to say; and it gives vendors a platform to say “hey, we may have something that can help you!”
But that in itself is nothing new. The IQPC secret sauce is the understanding that the location of an Exchange venue, has to have sufficient private areas, gardens where people can take time out, multiple coffee spaces – that can facilitate naturally the sort of intuitive discussion that business leaders need for private communication.


In the three hours that we spent at the CDO event – we had insightful discussions with over a dozen high level directors, vendors and corporates, from all parts of UK and Europe.


For Exchange to work, there has to be a willingness on all sides to want it to work, and the apparent informality belies the work that goes on and preparation from all participants, to share knowledge. But the benefits are clear. We expect to see more of these events in the future.

Can We Celebrate 70 Years of the NHS?


As increasing numbers of ordinary people move away from this cherished institution – we ask the question – why do they do so?

This is not about private medicine and public services. The UK NHS and its principle guardian of healthcare – free to all – at the point of delivery – is the cornerstone of just about every UK and European belief that healthcare is a public right – not something that you only get if you can afford it.

Fair enough.

The problem is when you put that into practice for the ordinary lives of people like you and I. The principle might be ok but – well, if other places are offering something better, and its within our price range, we are going to choose whatever that something else is.

And so they do.

At the recent Employee Benefit Fair in London just a couple of weeks ago, of the 115 Exhibitors, some 30% were all offering private walk in Doctors facilities.  And the services they were offering were better, than their NHS counterparts, particularly in areas that can be monitored remotely by smart technology on the wrist of all of us. As the provision of healthcare moves away from hospitals into a more community based environment, if for just a few bucks a  month, say you can have your diabetes monitored every day, in real time – or your heart and blood pressure similarly managed – does it matter that you never get to see a real Nurse?  All you want is the Nurse to call you when things look wrong – and for you to be able to drop by as you pass thru the local train station en route to work.

So why do so few NHS Hospitals and CCGs want to adopt similar practices?

The problem is twofold; if we can  solve a specific problem, with  technology, using half the nurses – then we can schedule the remaining nurses somewhere else where there is a greater need. Except that clinical grass roots staff have a fear of change and a fear of losing their job. And Managers have a fear of losing their nurses – and their silo based budgets.  As long as they have lots of people coming through those hospital doors – the money will keep rolling in.

And second – we regularly get emails and responses from NHS senior Managers saying;  “Sure, come by for a conversation, but not for a conversation that means we have to do something”. There is this misplaced belief among so many NHS Managers that as things have always been done this way – then life will continue to be done this way.

Not any more.  

We are seeing already that the public is voting with its feet. Sure, its a small beginning – but its a beginning none the less. As a senior more enlightened NHS Director told me – “we cannot keep trying to squeeze 100 appointments into the time reserved for only 40”.

There will become a time, sooner rather than later, when the public itself will start to wonder why they are paying any money for public healthcare at all. By then of course, it will be too late.

————————

IS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION MISSING THE POINT?

We focus on the upcoming IP Expo Europe Conference at Excel London  and ask the question – are consumers being left behind? 

If so, this would be a pity. It is no coincidence that IP Expo Europe is just a few days before the Chinese IRC Retail Conference also in London, whose view is;  With the challenge of slowing retail sales, international expansion is key to maintaining double-digit growth.

The emergence of the Chinese eCommerce market, in a country whose GDP is constantly growing, is a clear opportunity to Re:Generate retail. Today’s QiXi day – the Chinese equivalent to Valentine’s day – is poised to generate record growth in international eCommerce sales. In other words, ECOMMERCE can drive retail.

The problem is, that’s not how ordinary people are viewing this. It’s not just Consumers, although there is  a dawn of realisation in the minds of the general public that the great benefit of online retail might also be killing the social high street that binds society together.  Maybe going shopping wasn’t so bad after all?  When one third of all the things that people buy online, are routinely returned to their sender – and there are more charity shops than thriving retailers – perhaps we are missing something in the way we describe and market “digital transformation”. Transformation might not necessarily be for the better.

The same feeling is also spreading into our public sectors; increasingly we are seeing new “digital transformation” labelled projects, that are little more than typing our patient records into someone’s Windows 7 desktop.  The NHS has “ringfenced” (oh please, don’t be naive) – money for “digital transformation” that will simply throw money at projects its hospitals were going to do anyway.  Digital Transformation is great PR.

At a time when emails no longer carry the same immediacy as they originally did – and it is now better to communicate sending something called a Letter in the mail – are we missing the point in thinking that everybody of course knows what blockchain is? Or are we blinded by selling technology to ourselves, when we are forgetting that what people want are the benefits of said technology? What that  technology is  – is irrelevant.

And that’s the point. IP Expo Europe  is not addressing consumers. It is a platform for the vendors of said technology, to show us the best ways of delivering business benefit.  We as “consumers” of technology should know how to translate that into something our own customers will understand. But to get there – we need the face to face, the casual conversation, the in depth presentation – with our peers – that will show us better ways to get where we ourselves need to go.

This may in turn reflect back into our struggling retail market, as long as it is a catalyst for methodology change, marketing people to get together. In short, the key to overall success, is a mix of the two -ECOMMERCE drives face to face retail.

We expect the greater awareness of vendors and delegates at IP Expo Europe will bear fruit in the change in the way vendors market what they do, and organisations handle their consumer data, in particular, becoming more open to international business – which will in turn drive the very retail sectors that are under pressure. 

If so, then Digital Transformation can start to create social good in the very areas that have been left behind. 

The Future Shapers. Protecting Your Assets

Information per se is not important. What drives our world, is access to the right information. We interview TheFutureShapers Director, Richard Copland about the growth and need for relevant information in our business.

We have some strange ideas about ownership. You wouldn’t ever consider walking into a supermarket, pick up a bar of chocolate, eat said chocolate, and only pay the girl at the till if you happen to like the chocolate. You would never go to a football game and only pay for the ticket if your team win.

Then again, if you listen to some music and want to buy that song – you wouldn’t think twice about giving some of that price to the composer and artist, would you. Or maybe you would? Yet the storms that greeted the music industry in its protection of musicians rights and copyright, are as of nothing, to the market that is open to the protection of yours and my IP whenever we create and publish a good idea, a new piece of code.

TheFutureShapers publishes relevant and highly insightful Articles, about key markets and industries where technology will make a difference. As an impartial and disinterested hub of knowledge, Futureshapers looks to publish the insight that others miss.

Yet in many ways, TheFutureShapers has transformed from being a high level crystal ball with far sighted reach – to an organisation that has stumbled on a genuine market need that will make it and its investors a fortune. The knowledge that it disseminates, itself has a value greater than merely the access to it, and the people who have created such knowledge should be rewarded.

The Ethereum Smart Contract technology is a blockchain based solution that manages the IP of the ideas and technologies that you create. It gives you ownership and therefore a value, for the work you have put in, the thought processes that you have developed over time.

Like all good ideas, its simplicity has the same financial needs to come to market, as any Start Up. Enlisting the support of you and I to invest financially, fits the modus operandi of being a solution to cater for all.

So far via Crowdcube, the company has raised nearly £50k. Target is £200,000. This puts the company in the public domain as far as proper visibility is concerned.

TheFutureShapers can be viewed by linking direct into the Crowdcube website; https:// http://www.crowdcube.com/companies/the-future-shapers/pitches/qay2mq

AND NOW FOR THE RUSH OF PUBLIC SCRUTINY…

The recent Presentation from John Keyes at the DAMA event #LifeWithGDPR2018 – drew a lot of attention.

We are going to publish the key points in brief – but what is becoming crucial for companies, is to have a rapid and foolproof and automated way – to deal with the requests for private information that are going to flood to all of our corporates that deal with the public.

Recently  launched, is  a relevant solution called ALTADA – http://www.altada.com – which is an eloquent and seamless way to deal with this issue. Please see their website. But here are the key points…

And remember, we haven’t even gone two months yet since GDPR first came into play.

* 169% increase in Weekly “Breach Notifications” since May 25th. Up from Avg 54 per week in 2017, to 145 per week in 4 weeks from May 25th

* 54% increase in weekly “Complaints and Enquiries”

* Upcoming E-Privacy regulation – Direct Marketing will require “consent”. The current perception that some companies have that they may use “Legitimate Interest” as the legal basis for Direct Marketing is unfounded.

* Article 6: “Legal Basis”
The 1st question the DPC ask when a concern is raised: “What is/was the legal basis for processing”

* Article 12: Transparency.
“I havn’t seen a Data Privacy Notice that complies with Article 12 yet”

It will be interesting to see how these stats pan out over the year – It would be great if John and the DPC could publish them regularly on their website….

LIVING WITH GDPR; HAS LIFE MOVED ON?

We look at the upcoming Chief Data Officer conference in London and ask; are we getting bored by all this?

Yes, indeed we are. And that’s the problem. And it makes us immune to the real issues of handling our corporate data, because, frankly – if we ever see yet another request from a company we have never heard of, to “opt in and remain on their mailing list”, – when we never knew we were even ON their mailing list – then we would be forgiven for jumping out of the nearest window.

Depressions were never as bad as this!

The answer, is to take a balanced view. I absolutely “get” that there are still some serious issues as to how we handle our personal or restricted data and that these aspects have not been universally solved.

But let’s not miss the real opportunity – which is; there are new and better ways to handle our data. Wake up calls are great if we do what the name suggests, ie – we actually “wake up”!

Looking at the Agenda of governance, emerging technology, and conceptual avenues of strategy – the upcoming CDO conference promises to move us along, in the directions that we now need to be heading.

If the profile of delegates attending, is as expected – then this is a forum that our decision makers in business need to attend. Decisions are based on looking forward as much as the experience of looking back – but let’s not dwell just on those experiences.

The key thing about the CDO is as always the interim networking, the casual conversation, and our guess is that this will always be the same. But the blurb from the good people at IQPC is that things have moved on, and that this is the discussion platform that will take us there. Pillows and blankets will not be provided.

Our longer Report will follow shortly.