Keeping up with Technology

31 January 2019

You may remember, Steve Jobs announced the launch of the iphone at the Macworld Convention in January 2007 and everyone thought that this was going to be a phone for life. Some twelve years on, we are now on the tenth iteration of the device, driven by both changes to the end user’s needs and enhancements in technology. This means that for the iphone to be relevant, new versions must be released, and for the customer to remain up to date, they must upgrade to a new device.

There is a growing level of acceptance of the advantages that investment in technology can bring to an organisation. But turning this notional acceptance of a need to invest in technology into a strategy and subsequent implementation is a challenge that many struggle to achieve effectively.

Many organisations just do not have the physical capacity to deliver change; the short term cost of bringing in third parties to create and implement a strategy can sometimes look daunting compared with the projected cost benefits of doing so. But the reality is that those who can invest in technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Voice Recognition will be more successful in the future than those who do not. This applies globally, across all sectors, with many in financial services  very much looking to embrace the benefits such technologies will bring.  

Even the most modern of platforms will have a shelf life that will require future investment to remain as up to date as possible, but is it really critical that all organisations need to be “state of the art” in all areas to achieve strategic and revenue objectives? Probably not in a lot of cases.

Yes you can invest in a solution today that will put you ahead of the game in terms of customer experience, but tomorrow a solution or version will in all likelihood supersede this. A technology programme needs to be realistic. Will our existing users, both internally and our customers, get benefits from using the new solution? Will we receive more business through implementing it? Will our bottom line improve thus justifying the ROI? If the solution answers “yes” to these questions then chances are it will do its’ job once it is implemented. What is important is to then discuss the product roadmap with the supplier so you know what to expect over the coming years and what the upgrade plans, etc, look like. 

Stakeholders must be completely bought in to any transformation programme, and even a single dissenting voice can cause huge issues to its success, especially the higher the level that individual is within the organisation. There can of course be many reasons for not wanting change. Reasons for blockers have ranged from “empire protection” and just pure scepticism of the delivery of the project, to whether the solution will deliver any of the benefits sold. Clearly obtaining references as part of the tender process can alleviate the latter; the former is a much more difficult beast to deal with, but it does have to be addressed to achieve success.

History dictates that until product innovation is proven, it does not usually become a success, but innovation also needs an open mind at the outset to get new ideas off of the ground. Taking the telecoms industry as an example, today globally there are over 1.5 billion telephone lines and over seven billion mobiles in use. But in 1876 someone in Western Union wrote an internal memo stating “the ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is of no inherent use to us”!

Similarly, to use a military example, in 1911, the aeroplane was summarised by a French Marshall as being “interesting toys, but of no military value”!  If you are to truly encompass the newest technologies and solutions, you will always need visionaries as part of your team to drive acceptance of what the solution will bring.

2019 will see further implementations in areas such as voice recognition technologies, with household appliances even taking voice commands. This voice technology will also become more prevalent in our industry without doubt as customers want to talk into devices to complete forms and answer questions, quite possibly generated by AI. The move to 5G will also prompt more usage in other sectors also such as retail and entertainment.

Technology is there to be utilised and we have a generation of new customers expecting industry to keep up to date. New entrants have been best placed to gain the initial momentum with this demographic, but huge investment is being made by more traditional players to launch a similar offerings.

2019 will hold challenges for our industry as it always does, but one thing is for certain, even if lending levels begin to slow because of economic uncertainty, the pace of technology change certainly won’t.


Media contact

Debbie Staveley
Director and Owner,
bClear Communications

+44 (0)1275 542 511


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