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Marc West: The Challenge of Intelligent Automation

Marc West AftMarc West, EVP/CIO at Fiserv, described how the latest innovations in artificial intelligence are pushing boundaries of financial technology in his presentation at the 2018 AFT Fall Summit at Hilton Head, S.C.

West explained as organizations across multiple industries are integrating intelligent automation, machine learning, robotic process automation and natural machine language into their services, consumers are learning and becoming more comfortable with navigating more tasks on their own in real time. Those involvements are having a deep impact on financial services, as customers seek frictionless methods to control more financial responsibilities themselves.

“When you think about intelligent automation, there are vectors we think makes sense: operations, resiliency, efficient client experiences and new solutions,” West emphasized.

Some of West’s key takeaways:

Developing enterprise-wide automation is transformative, requiring thoughtful change management.

IA is real and advancing rapidly.

IA is likely to have a large impact on people’s lives and or businesses.

There are significant opportunities to leverage the technologies.

Making strategic plans and developing activities improves fintech readiness.

“If you're not going to RPA, find out why not,” West said. He recommended AI technologies to ease the increasing pressure for real-time, self-service experiences in a number of ways, from supporting more voice-enabled payments and transactions to automating intricate decision making and product recommendations.

It can also help financial institutions with their employees. Many of the initial AI developments are geared toward helping businesses extend their customer service as though they had unlimited human resources.

AI can dig out data to identify the next best steps financial institutions should take for greater automation. West suggested as AI and RPA technologies develop, and machines take over more routine tasks, financial institutions will prosper by reallocating employees’ time from manual tasks to higher-value responsibilities. He added automating the mundane processes employees don’t enjoy will free up their time for new opportunities that create more value for themselves and customers.

As AI algorithms grow in sophistication, they can help financial institutions deliver the type of intelligent personalization delivered by companies already such as Amazon. “You're right in that wheelhouse, so when you think about the application of the technology in the world today, it's already there at scale,” West stated.

A bot could possibly start any interaction with a grasp of the customer's preferences, habits, demographics and financial history and receive prompt responses as a result.

As financial institutions plan for more artificial intelligence, they should understand their cultural turf and the challenges they may encounter within their organizations. Financial institutions that stay open about their goals for artificial intelligence to better equip and enable their people, rather than replace them, can create a better opportunity for their teams to embrace and support the strategy.

West maintained financial institutions using AI technologies to help employees make informed decisions will achieve higher engagement and better ROI.

“Here's the challenge on RPA. You hired the digital workforce. It has little to do with the technology. It has everything to do with you,” West noted companies have to imagine they are onboarding an entire digital workforce and giving them the RPA product center underneath. “It’s less about technology and much more about workforce management. Much more about roles and responsibilities,” West added. “You have to think about it as a workforce.”

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