Finovate Spring: A Focus on the Practical
Finovate Spring 2017 has just finished up in San Jose; go to the Finovate blog for an official list of the best in show winners. My focus isn’t on individual companies, but rather the broad themes that I picked up from 59 presenters over the course of two days.
There were few gee-whiz, wildly futuristic presentations. Practicality ruled: companies focused on improving processes and delivering better outcomes. Solutions weren’t necessarily sexy or mind-blowing, but potentially more useful in terms of delivering reliable if unspectacular results.
2. Employee Efficiency
What’s more practical than making employees more efficient? Very little. Presenters automated processes, improved learning, and took the drudgery and time out of many manual tasks.
3. Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
One way to make employees more efficient, and increase that efficiency over time, is through AI technologies like Natural Language Understanding and Natural Language Generation. To improve those, apply machine learning over time.
4. APIs / AsAService
Another way to bring new ideas to market quickly is to tap into others who’ve already built the solutions. APIs are a key way of accessing many of these pre-built products, some of which were offered as a service (think Family Office As a Service, etc.)
5. Customer Experience
In line with what banks have recently been telling us, improving the Customer Experience was top of mind for many customers. Whether making an interface more aesthetically pleasing, eliminating friction, or speeding feedback, a keen focus on enriching interactions was evident throughout the event. I’d point out that the vast majority of solutions focused on the mobile experience, so much so that it almost doesn’t merit its own mention (but, since this didn’t used to be the case, it’s worth being explicit).
1. The presenting roster was down to 59 companies from 72 last year in San Jose. While more digestible, frankly, it made many observers wonder whether this was an early sign that the fintech frenzy is moderating.
2. Other technologies that didn’t make the headlines but were present include Analytics, Biometrics, and Lending / Mortgages.
3. I’m always interested in the dogs that didn't bark. Two technologies completely absent from the roster: Apple Watch and Blockchain. Others that were surprisingly underrepresented included Voice, Payments, Branch, and Financial Inclusion. As is my practice, I jotted down a few words associated with each presentation; the results are below.
If you’d like to discuss what we say at Finovate, please be in touch and we’ll arrange some time.