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Accelerating Innovation: Google Cloud Financial Services Summit 2021 Recap

Much has been written about the many ways in which public cloud is transforming the financial services and insurance industries, but it often seems that progress is slow in coming. The recent Financial Services Summit from Google Cloud should put that notion to rest. Great strides have been made in the past several years with some of the biggest names in capital markets, payments, insurance, and banking – and there are many more exciting developments on the horizon. Industry leaders like BNY Mellon, Global Payments, AXA Switzerland, QBE Insurance, and Deutsche Bank demonstrated that innovation is indeed accelerating in financial services and insurance.

Accelerating Innovation: Google Cloud Financial Services Summit 2021 Recap

Capital Markets: BNY Mellon Tackles AI and Digital Transformation

It is impossible to overstate the importance of BNY Mellon to the functioning of global capital markets. In addition to holding over $2 trillion in assets under management and $40 trillion in custody, they process over $8 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities each day. At the Cloud Summit, Google’s Ulku Rowe, Engineering Director, CTO Office, sat down with BNY Melon’s Bridget Engle, Chief Operations and Technology Officer, and discussed the biggest trends they are seeing as well as how transformation is impacting every area of the firm.

Engle shared how artificial intelligence (AI) and hyper-automation are allowing them to work faster and smarter than ever before. For example, in February of this year, they teamed with Google for data analytics, AI, and machine learning technologies to better predict delivery failures in Treasury securities, leading to significant increases in processing efficiency and capital utilization. Looking forward, Engle sees further contributions coming from cognitive sciences and gamification while digital assets promise to be a big factor in the years ahead. As a result, they are embracing an agile, DevOps orientation across the enterprise at the same time that they focus on the workforce of the future with an eye on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Not bad for a 237-year-old firm that counts Alexander Hamilton as a founder. 

Payments: Pushing the Frontier with Global Payments

Once a boring, commodity service, payments have emerged as a fast-growing and innovative frontier with the ascendance of digital commerce, omnichannel delivery, and ever-increasing cloud capabilities. Global Payments has been at the forefront of this trend and Aser Blanco from Google Cloud sat down with Cameron Bready, President and Chief Operating Officer, to discuss how future trends are shaping the industry. 

The global pandemic served to accelerate the already strong secular tailwinds that were driving the digitization and transformation of the industry. Global Payments has focused on helping merchants by increasing verticalization, particularly for small and medium businesses, enhancing engagement and fulfillment, adding more capabilities around a transaction, and offering safer commerce solutions wherever the customer wants to interact, whether that be mobile, links, or QR codes.

In the future, Bready points to a number of important areas of focus. Enabling omnichannel engagement continues to grow and examples such as the success of restaurants during the pandemic have revealed new opportunities to expand these efforts. No-contact commerce connections will continue to grow dramatically and vertical market software solutions, such as those that they have developed for healthcare and quick-serve restaurants (QSRs), will allow them to continue to expand and enhance the enterprise/customer experience.

Insurance: Activating a Data Strategy with AXA Switzerland and QBE Insurance

To the uninitiated outsider, insurance is a stodgy, old-line business, but a look beneath the covers reveals a different reality. The industry has long been a leader in pushing the frontiers of risk management and the emergence of enhanced data storage and management capabilities along with the ascendance of the cloud has dramatically accelerated the opportunity for innovation in the industry.

In this panel, Henna Karna of Google Cloud moderated and described an industry that has long been “data rich but insight poor.” Now, the cloud is breaking down data silos as well as enabling the adoption of rich sources of alternate data. New solutions are clearly needed: a recent industry study found a $1.2 Tn global coverage gap that needs to be addressed.

Karna was joined by Tim Pitt, Global Head of Pricing for QBE Insurance and Carmelo Iantosca, Chief Data and Analytics Officer from AXA Switzerland. Pitt detailed how their data strategy focuses on combining sources, from local to global, to drive insights and delivering data seamlessly across the enterprise to level the playing field. Importantly, there is increasing utilization of unstructured data, often aided by the use of natural language processing (NLP). For his part, Iantosca described that their approach is to look big, start small and learn to scale fast. Seeing the picture allows them to understand the foundations that need to be built while grabbing some early wins with low-hanging fruit gives momentum to their efforts. Ultimately, learning to scale is essential to continued success and goes beyond data to areas such as work process and building the talent pool.

Banking: Deutsche Bank Makes a Big Bet on Google Cloud

In December 2020, Deutsche Bank and Google Cloud announced a pioneering cloud and innovation partnership and Lori Mitchell-Keller of Google Cloud discussed the details of the vision and focus of the effort with Stefan Hoops, Head of Corporate Bank at Deutsche Bank. 

Hoops described three main innovation opportunities: day-to-day efficiency, new business cases such as pay-per-use services, and future technologies. For example, he cited advancements in cash flow forecasting that were made possible by Google analytics capabilities, enhancements that were all the more important in the uncertain economic conditions spawned by the pandemic. 

Looking forward, he said that Deutsche Bank is looking to IoT, contextual banking, where banking services are consumed in the course of business rather than as standalone activities, and digital assets as promising areas for future development. Ultimately, he sees that the marriage of technology and a fintech sensibility built on a platform that is globally scalable and reliable evolving into a relationship that is similar to the “Intel Inside” campaign that he saw when he purchased his first PC 25 years ago. 

Google Cloud: Partnering to Deliver Innovation

As the cloud grows and matures, the relationship between providers and customers has evolved as well, with a new emphasis on deep collaboration that goes far beyond selling services. Google Cloud’s relationship with both Deutsche Bank and Global Payments are just two examples of this recent trend. In both cases, Google has created a long-term relationship that not only stresses a focus on broad impacts from the robust adoption of cloud but is also a two-way commercial arrangement that delivers significant value for both Google and their partners. It is a model that is becoming increasingly prevalent in many industries and it will undoubtedly usher in a new era of cloud-led innovation. 

The Google Cloud Financial Services Summit was produced on May 27, 2021 and featured 13 presentations on the most exciting developments in the financial services industry. In addition to the companies mentioned above, other presenters included HSBC, Santander Bank, Credit Suisse, PayPal and more. Also, 15 partner presentations, including Maven Wave’s “Strategy for Mainframe to Google Transition in Financial Services”, covered the myriad ways in which cloud is transforming financial services. The full event, nearly nine hours of programming, is available for viewing on-demand.

With a dedicated financial services practice and 11 Google Cloud Partner Specializations including Cloud Migration, Security, and Enterprise Collaboration, Maven Wave helps drive the future of financial services with innovative business outcomes, fueled by cloud, with risk top of mind. To help organizations maximize economic outcomes and advancements, Maven Wave brings a rich blend of industry-specific technological expertise, agile-integrated design, and best practices for transformation. Contact us to learn more.

About the Author

Chuck Mackie
Chuck Mackie is a consultant with Maven Wave focusing on creating cutting-edge content and thought leadership articles in the areas of financial services, healthcare, and technology. He joined Maven Wave in 2010 and prior work experiences include stints at IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), Trading Technologies, and the CME Group. He has a Masters degree in marketing from Kellogg/Northwestern and a BA in Economics and Humanities from Coe College.
June 2nd, 2021

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