What can banks learn from AI trailblazers?

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Dubai, UAE: If adopted in the right way, AI has the potential to revolutionise the banking industry – saving time, cutting costs, and improving the customer experience and sales. By integrating AI across their businesses, established banks can fend off increasing competition from new market entrants outside the traditional financial services industry.

In a newly-released report on the take-up of artificial intelligence (AI) in the banking sector, global management consultancy Oliver Wyman found a number of common building blocks that AI trailblazers in the sector have put in place to ensure a successful AI transformation

These include:

  • setting a clear ambition to deploy AI everywhere – from customer-facing through to back-office functions, starting with those opportunities that will deliver value fastest;
  • modernising data infrastructure and improving data practices, thus transforming the tech behind the data brain;
  • adopting the mind-set and methods of a technology company; and
  • seeking to build an internal AI centre of excellence by hiring specialist AI talent, enabling banks to deploy AI at scale.

According to Manuel Abat, Partner and IMEA Practice Head, Digital and Implementation at Oliver Wyman, “It is clear from our research that banks need to think beyond digitalisation and digital transformation. Deploying AI properly involves a transformation of the entire bank and the way it operates.”

Amongst international examples, the authors of the report examined one case study of a leading bank in the Middle East, which deftly deployed data analytics to increase sales, enhance customer experience and streamline operations.  Driven from the very top of the bank’s leadership, this transformation put the bank on a par with other pioneering European and Asia-Pacific banks that the report looked at.

“Those banks embracing AI are not always disruptive new market entrants – some are established market leaders. However, fintechs and new digital banks such as Zand in the UAE, and telcos such as stc pay in Saudi Arabia, are already looking to take market share from established banks. With a lead time of 1 to 2 years to become proficient in AI, market incumbents need to embrace AI urgently to avoid being left behind – and that means more than just introducing digital banking” added Abat.