India’s banking and financial sector is no stranger to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Bots and automation have been an integral part of the banking process for several years now. And yet, the radical change that’s set to transform the way the world banks is far grander than simple AI-driven processes. It’s the banking 4.0 wave, and it seeks to make banking less of a service and more of an experience for customers.

What are the defining features of banking 4.0?

Banking 4.0 is defined by four primary characteristics. Firstly, it encourages a transition from product-based operations to service-based roles. Solutions offered by banks of the future will see a greater focus on resolving specific problems encountered by their customers instead of merely offering up immutable banking products. Secondly, banking 4.0 will require BFSI companies to adopt a more customer-centric approach to banking. Banks will need to personalize their offers, marketing, and user experience.

Thirdly, banks that succeed in riding the 4.0 wave will need to embrace a major shift toward digitisation. Offering digital solutions can further the futuristic objective of improving customer experience and promoting service-based operations. And lastly, banking 4.0 requires banks to collaborate with fintech companies on various fronts like lending and teaming up to create co-branded products.

Where do humans fit into this?

At first glance, it may appear that if banking 4.0 grows to be as digital as it appears, human involvement will no longer be required to keep banking alive. Aspects like automation, AI, mobile banking, and self-servicing could indeed prove to be disruptive to many conventional banking jobs. The predictions do seem grim, with nearly 50 percent of jobs in this sector poised to be replaced by computers.

And yet, there’s hope that with the influx of a new digital wave, the role of humans in banking would only evolve and transform. Here’s how humans will continue to remain indispensable in the era of banking 4.0.

Developing and supervising automation will require human involvement

The use of AI and machine systems in digital banking will bring about unprecedented advancements in areas like administration, algorithmic trading, and data analysis. Nevertheless, the responsibility of maintaining these AI systems and supervising automated procedures falls upon manually driven processes. To oversee the functioning of machine-driven decision-making and to ensure the risks associated with automation are minimised, banks and financial institutions will require AI auditors. Banking 4.0, thus, requires human involvement alongside digitization to achieve the success it promises.

The demand for certain expert skills is on the rise

Digital disruption is not a myth. However, it’s also equally true that with the rise of digitisation, the demand for certain specific skills continues to increase proportionately. Websites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Hired reported that skills like AI expertise, data science proficiency, and machine learning are fast becoming the top talents sought by recruiters in legacy financial companies like Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley, among others. Another data point from LinkedIn revealed that the requirement for professionals with big data expertise shot up by nearly 60 percent in the 12 months since July 2018.

Managing customer relationships is inherently a human undertaking

Personalisation is one of the key aspects of banking 4.0. And while digital solutions are capable of several impressive accomplishments, AI has yet to cross the barrier between automating a process and adapting it to suit each individual customer. This is where manual intervention can prove to be of great help. Roles related to customer relationship management in the banking industry need to be filled in by skilled professionals who can help bridge the gap between textbook automation and personalisation. Introducing human elements alongside AI can also make the transition smoother for new banking customers.

Automation may take away some jobs, but it creates new ones

Banking 4.0 will undoubtedly disrupt some traditional roles that involve repetitive tasks. Functions performed by bank tellers, cashiers, and data entry operators can be converted into an automated process. However, the introduction of AI will also simultaneously introduce newer roles like platform support engineers, AI managers and architects, conversational AI strategists, and data scientists. With new portfolios opening up for skilled digital banking professionals, it’s evident that humans will continue to remain indispensable despite the sweeping digitisation.

How can professionals remain relevant in the banking 4.0 era?

The key to remaining relevant in this age of digital disruption lies in reskilling and upskilling. For employees currently working in the BFSI sector, it is impractical to head back to school full-time. And for graduates who have just graduated from top institutions across the country, the need of the hour is to upgrade their skills to match the futuristic requirements of the banking industry.

Educational institutions like Manipal Global offer graduates and employees the opportunity to upskill or reskill themselves. The institute offers certification programmes that allow bankers to study while they’re working. These programmes give employed professionals the opportunity to stay updated about the newest developments in the BFSI sector and allows them to upgrade their skills to stay relevant.

Robin Bhowmik is Chief Business Officer at Manipal Global Academy of BFSI.

Published Date: Jan 22, 2020 06:01 AM | Updated Date: Jan 22, 2020 06:01 AM IST

Tags : #AI #Artificial Intelligence #automation #banking 4.0 #BFSI companies #fintech #Mobile banking

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