Sam Maule, Managing Partner North America for 11:FS, and a thought leader in financial services, project management, consulting and training, enlightened the audience about technology reality and overhype at the 2019 AFT Spring Summit in Tucson, Ariz.
Maule outlined that when it comes to technology, to any industry, several things matter: a convergence of technology and exponential change in society and behavior. He then highlighted how these factors helped spark industrial revolutions that led to the railroad, mass production, semiconductors, silicon circuits, and computers. “Right now, we're about to kick off the fourth industrial revolution. the combination of the physical and technology itself coming together.”
For financial institutions, he explained how the introduction of the smart phone led to consumers willing to look outside of financial services for solutions.
Maule also touched on some of the other technologies mentioned when it comes to the financial services industry such as the cloud, APIs, robotics, robotic process automation, augmented reality, security, blockchain, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and smart machines. “I would agree that every single one of those are so overhyped and being so oversold.”
However, Maule singled out blockchain as the most overhyped by most standards and surveys. “I couldn't agree with them more.” He added, “Year after a year. We've been told how this is the year there's going to be a blockchain use case that disrupts everything, and we know that's not true.”
In addition, Maule zeroed in on artificial intelligence as next in line for the most promoted technology. “The most overused term in the world.” He admitted though from a maturity standpoint, AI is getting better but noted it is only as good as the data it is processing and the algorithms built into it. “Which means they rely on people.”
Maule also mentioned other technologies popular in financial services circles such as APIs (“the concepts of open banking is not new”), RPA (“automating processes is not AI whatsoever. I don't think it's over hyped. It's a nice thing”); quantum computing (“exponential computing power requires, a ton of data behind it”), and augmented reality (The use cases in banking are interesting but still a way off).
The tech guru suggested to the AFT attendees that how they invest in people is everything. “Which means you have to change your approach to recruitment.” This includes realizing in some cases contracting people for short stints. “That's okay. But your approach and how you hire, how you attract talent, how you'd keep talent and how you allow them to actually manage and drive code is going to be a lot different.”
Speed, both in terms of how fast companies bring in talent and used to develop products figures to play an important role. “The speed of your code delivery and your engineering has got to change,” Maule said.
He reminded his audience, “We're very good at putting walls up.” Instead they need to focus on what they do as an individual company and what they excel at so they microfocus on one or two things. “Really excel at that and embrace it.”
He added; awareness is huge. “Coming to conferences like AFT. I absolutely love this conference by the way. You're actually able to talk to people and interact, and actually learn something that comes out of it.”