The Fintech sector has experienced a period of rapid growth over the past year. As noted by the World Bank, with the exception of lending, digital financial services grew across the board, particularly in emerging markets. According to the report, Fintech is seen as the pathway to affordable financial services, which is critical for both poverty reduction and economic growth. And, at a time when face-to-face and physical interactions are seen as having risk, consumers are flocking to digital banking services to transact.
In addition to the growth in user numbers, there has been a rapid expansion in the number of Fintech services, with the World Bank finding around 60% reported launching new products and value-adding services.
For CIOs and other IT leaders, this rapid expansion in both the use of services and the need to develop and launch new digital services is placing pressure on them in a number of areas, including:
- Innovation: Fintech is in a “disrupt or be disrupted” situation, and CIOs need to be able to develop and roll out products quickly.
- Transformation: Having the platform for the kind of innovation demanded in Fintech requires transformation, but CIOs need to grapple with the ever-persistent problem that only three in ten transformation projects deliver their expected value.
- Addressing Regulatory Concerns: Financial services remains one of the most highly regulated sectors, and CIOs need to address how any innovations meet regulatory requirements.
- Educating the Community and Customer Experience: Finally, CIOs need to be able to address community concerns around the financial system and deliver a leading customer experience.
Financial services post-pandemic
The big challenge that the financial services sector has faced over the past 18 months has been the rapid uptick in demand for contactless banking. People are doing away with cash to instead rely on online banking and contactless card and app options as a way of limiting their exposure and risk of contact-transmitted diseases.
While this is a challenge, it is also an opportunity, and the financial system has currently got an opportunity to leverage transformation and digitalization to reach new customers and provide new services. Digital Financial Inclusion (DFI) is set to become a key discussion point in the years ahead, as the greatest opportunity that financial services have had to date to massively escalate financial inclusion.
This topic will be a key theme of the Huawei Intelligent Finance Summit (HIFS) 2021, which will run from June 3 – 4. Through the summit, Huawei will highlight the five key themes that fall under its “I5 Engine,” a holistic philosophy and technology-driven solution to finance and digitalization.
The Intelligent Finance Cloud Engine I5 encompasses upgrades of 5 core values:
First, there is Robotic Infrastructure – unified management and control, end-to-end automatic deployment, intelligent O&M and fast service provisioning, energy-saving, high reliability, and intelligent financial digital infrastructure – along with deeper Data Intelligence and Analytics and Agile Innovation. In turn, financial organizations can leverage these attributes to gain market share in growing areas such as Financial Inclusion and embedded digital financial services (Industrial Finance).
Combined, these five themes will allow Huawei and its partners to deliver a digital-first approach to financial services, particularly when reaching out to those not currently in the banking system.
The I5 engine, and its five core pillars, allow banks to deliver real-time convenience to their customers, while providing value-adding services to customers and minimizing the costs of transactions, which can help to allay the concerns of the unbanked and bolster financial inclusion.
Huawei’s Fintech philosophy in motion
One of the largest banks in Latin America, Itaú Unibanco, faced significant challenges as people started moving to remote work and following social distancing best practices. In addition, going from 3,000 people working from home daily to 22,000, putting internal pressure on data centers and infrastructure, the bank faced a spike in Internet banking as physical branches shut down and customers started using mobile and Web-based banking services.
The existing data centers had been built in 2014 and were, by modern standards, aging and inefficient. In particular, Itaú Unibanco was facing significant storage bottlenecks.
By engaging with Huawei, the bank is able to roll out a solution using Redundant Array of Independent Disks Triple-Parity (RAID-TP), allowing for three concurrent disk failures. This immediately improved the stability of the network and reduced the number of service interruptions to zero.
Furthermore, with the deployment of Huawei’s OceanStor All-Flash Arrays (AFA), the bank is able to reduce power consumption by 45% and slash maintenance costs by 65%.
“We can already observe improved performance, and that all attest to the investment that was made,” said Augusto Stracie, Itaú Unibanco’s IT Operation Superintendent. (Read more about Itaú Unibanco’s experience here.)
Huawei will unveil further technologies and innovations that speak to Digital Financial Inclusion at HIFS 2021, and how banks can become Fintech-orientated, digital-first innovators, providing customers with a superior customer experience while also further deepening engagement with them to accelerate intelligent finance and achieve what the company terms “New Value Together.”
Be sure to attend the Huawei Intelligent Finance Summit 2021. To better satisfy audiences in different time zones, for APAC audiences, click here for more details and to sign up. For non-APAC audiences, please click here.
Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.