More than two-thirds (67%) of UK Financial Services (FS) workers believe that artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform many FS practices, according to new research from content services firm Nuxeo out today.
58% of respondents in the report - Information, Intelligence & Innovation: How UK Financial Services is shaping up for 2020 - also say that FS firms which embrace AI are a more attractive place to work. Despite this, UK FS firms have been slow to adopt AI across most business functions. Just 34% of UK FS firms are using AI for improved customer service, 33% for automating backend processes, 29% searching for information and 41% for data analytics.
While many respondents said that AI was ‘under consideration’ for many of those business functions, 45% of respondents said that their organisation’s inability to adopt AI quick enough was already impacting their day-to-day activities. 58% say there is a shortage of AI talent and expertise in their company.
“AI can be genuinely transformative in FS but it would appear that many organisations are still thinking about deployment, rather than getting on with it,” said Chris McLaughlin, chief product and marketing officer, Nuxeo. “It’s a challenging landscape in FS right now and firms need to improve the user experience and improve productivity, and AI can play a significant role in achieving these goals.”
The sheer volume of data and information is another challenge for UK FS workers and this is an area where AI has potential to help - 64% of respondents say using AI for mundane backend processes would free their time to do more interesting work.
On average, people in UK FS firms are storing information and content across nine different systems, with almost three-quarters of respondents saying that these systems are not fully connected with each other, in a way that allows information to be shared across them.
This is having a significant impact on knowledge workers in FS – those who need to access information as a regular part of their jobs are spending almost one hour a day (52 minutes) just searching for information, because it is not readily discoverable.
This equates to each employee spending four hours 20 minutes each week just looking for information, so the total time over a year would be vast. Some of the most common reasons cited for this were: information is stored across multiple systems in the organisation (42%); information is inconsistently, incorrectly or inadequately named (34%); and workers lack the right tools to find information efficiently (22%).
“Quick information search and retrieval is an enormous part of the modern FS user experience – customers simply don’t want to waste their time waiting for an agent to find information when they are used to more immediate interactions elsewhere,” continued Chris McLaughlin, Nuxeo. “With more data entering banks than at any time previously, it’s an issue that the industry collectively must be willing to address. Speed, accuracy and agility are essential when managing information and addressing them can have a real impact in terms of improved customer retention and loyalty.”