One Simple Chart: what technologies are most important to large banks

As someone who speaks with many technology startups in the software space, I know how important the financial services sector can be to software companies. Companies in this sector have significant technology budgets and increasing competition from fintech startups has accelerated their adoption of new technologies. More financial companies are using cloud platforms and machine learning, and some are experimenting with new technologies like blockchains. Thus I often come across software startups who have offerings tailored for the needs of financial services companies.

What technologies are U.S. banks prioritizing? The 2020 Technology Survey by BankDirector collected responses from “157 independent directors, chief executive officers, chief operating officers and senior technology executives of U.S. banks”. The chart below summarizes responses to the question of what technologies banks view as important. Note that large banks (those with assets of more than $10 billion) perceive areas that touch on Data and AI to be high priorities: Automation (58%), Data analytics (42%), Process automation (33%), Cloud (25%), and AI/machine learning (25%)

With increasing competition, it’s no surprise that banks want to improve efficiency and take advantage of automation tools. Banks have many processes and tasks that are potential targets for Automation and AI technologies. What use cases should banks be focusing on? Let me close by posting a simple checklist for screening potential candidates for automation:

  • Is the task data-driven?
  • Do you have the data to support the automation of the task?
  • Do you really need the scale that automation can provide?

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