Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Here Come the Robo-Advisors: How Disruption Is Changing the Financial Services Industry

By Boris Shoykhet
Director, Product & Market Intelligence
Protective Life

Smartphones and mobile devices have revolutionized today’s market place. We can order pretty much anything online today and it will arrive at our door in a couple of hours. We can call a cab using our phone or book a hotel stay using our iPad. If we are really bored we can just stream movies on our television screens. These are all examples of disruptive innovation that has revolutionized the world in the last ten years.

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who mentioned that she will be sending her daughter to occupational therapy school as she sees there will be a rise in conditions such as the “smart phone thumb, neck or elbow.” She is using observational intelligence available to her today to see a possible opportunities for the profession in the future. The same patterns of disruptive innovation can recently be seen in the financial industry. It is the technology that is available to all of us today that can be used as a catalyst for disruptive strategies.

Today’s consumer is focused on speed and the simplest possible process when purchasing financial products, whether it’s opening a bank account online, or purchasing mutual funds, stocks or life insurance. In the digital age, it’s all intertwined. New technological tools that we utilize for competitive intelligence will lay the foundation for disruptive strategies in the industry.

Demographics and modern technology are creating consumers who seek financial products that can be purchased and tracked at a touch of a button. Many financial companies today have used predictive modeling techniques to dissect what today’s consumer is interested in.  We can see these trends being incorporated into the new customer relationship management models and the type of products being offered to the consumer. Intelligence behind these methods led to the introduction of “Robo -Advisors” which are targeting millennials and offering them investment management platforms that can be accessed through smartphones phones or tablets.

When developing these products, intelligence professionals have to rely on analytics and big data to stay agile and in the insurance industry we are seeing consumers increasingly becoming interested in products that are easy to understand and can be assessed and issued quickly.

By relying on competitive intelligence teams, organizations will be able to realize and pinpoint new sales channels, whether it will be direct-to-consumer using a smartphone or connecting a more sophisticated consumer with advisors using social media. The digital age is upon us and competitive intelligence teams will have to provide strategical and tactical information to the key stakeholders in order to help organizations remain agile and competitive. Through the use of competitive intelligence, we will have access to emerging industry trends and new business opportunities which will drive disruptive strategies in today’s quickly changing environment.  

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