Steve Hirsch has perhaps one of the most daunting data jobs in the world. As chief data officer at the Intercontinental Exchange and NYSE, his team is faced with massive amounts of data that relate to financial markets around the world, and it all has to be safe, accurate, and usable. It’s a big job, and one that has evolved over recent years with changes and new technology.
One of the biggest changes has been the growth of artificial intelligence, but Steve says we are using the term AI too much and often applying it to technology that doesn’t actually involve artificial intelligence. Steve cites the example of Apple’s Siri, which appears to be AI but is actually just programmed to answer questions in a certain way without taking insights from around and making her own conclusion, which is what actual AI would do.
Automation is playing a large role in the trading spaces, as some exchanges have replaced human traders with computer-based trading machines that use algorithms to find the best deals. Because so much of what happens in finance is driven by models and technology, the industry has faced a number of changes in the past years and decades. To be successful and keep information secure, data experts in the field need to stay informed and on top of the latest trends.
In the data-driven financial world, the Intercontinental Exchange is always looking for ways to incorporate new technology, whether that means building it themselves or going through a good vendor. The main goal of the Intercontinental Exchange is to provide financial data to traders, investors, and academics. That means making sure customers have the information they need to manage their own risks and providing a trusted environment and network that is secure enough for customers to do their required work. The same principles apply to any tech-based business: the goal is always to keep customers’ data safe and secure and provide them the resources to get the job done.
Data, especially related to finances, is particularly prone to volatility. To be successful, organizations need to be prepared for volatility. It shouldn’t be feared, but rather thought of as a way to test that the team has done their jobs properly. Anything from changes in the market to political events, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters can have a big effect on the industry. These events can’t be predicted, so constantly managing data and making sure it is always secure and accurate is incredibly important.
For people wanting to get into the data space, Steve says there are lots of opportunities. Some of the biggest demand now, especially for organizations that analyze massive amounts of data, is for data scientists and data engineers who can understand data and algorithms to make business decisions.
The financial markets affect us all, and having the right data drives smart decisions to keep the markets thriving. Your organization doesn’t have to be as big as the NYSE to take advantage of data—by staying on top of tech trends and avoiding being disrupted with volatile actions, any organization can work towards success.
Things in the world of customer experience are constantly changing, and the CIO is no exception. Instead of simply sitting back and waiting for things to happen, today’s CIO plays a more proactive role in finding forward-thinking solutions for the company. That’s according to Jason Richard, CIO of Lucky Brand. While the old CIO position may have been limited to the technology side of the business, Jason is involved in many facets of the organization as he looks for ways things can run more smoothly, be more efficient, and leverage new technology. This is incredibly important in customer experience as modern customers demand a consistent, tech-based experience. Even something as seemingly simple as offering free WiFi in stores can utilize new technology and greatly improve the customer experience.
As more customers take their shopping online, the CIO plays a large role in making sure customers have a consistent experience no matter where they are shopping and that they don’t see any barriers between shopping location. In Lucky’s case, customers could be on the website, in a dedicated Lucky store, or at a partner department store, so Jason and his team ensure the technology is the same and that employees can provide customers with the products they need. This includes making sure the company has the best technology to track inventory, accept payments, and communicate with customers. If a customer purchased a product online but wanted to return it in store, as is very common in today’s world, the company needs to have the right technology to make that transaction possible. Without proper systems and employee training, customers could be left with a frustrating situation and no way to change it. The CIO’s job is to deliver on capabilities to make the customer experience great.
The role of the CIO has already changed, and it will continue to evolve as technology and the customer experience changes. The focus going forward isn’t simply on making sure computers work and the lights stay on, but rather on delivering on ROI and using technology to make a strategic impact in the company. CIOs can’t sit back and wait for other business leaders to come to them with needs of the organization—they must get enough pull behind them that they can innovate and proactively put the right technology in place to drive the organization forward and build a strong customer relationship. In order to do that, CIOs need to be aware of their business, the industry, and the latest technology.
In a world filled with evolving technology, customers expect a strong tech-based experience. The CIO can implement changes to greatly improve the customer experience and stay ahead of the technology curve.
Today’s customers want to interact with brands in a way that is easy and convenient. For most people, that means self service because they can control when and how they get the information they need instead of waiting on hold and potentially wasting their time. When it comes to self service, there’s possibly no better technology than a chatbot. Wells Fargo recently tested the waters by creating its first chatbot, and the lessons learned can be applied to companies in any industry.
One of the biggest draws for a chatbot is that offers self service with a conversational interface, according to Kimarie Matthews, Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo Virtual Channels Social Care & Capabilities. Customers can easily find the answers to their questions by using a conversational style instead of having to type or search for an answer, but they also have the value-added human service if that better meets their needs. Chatbot technology opens the door to offer a higher level of customer experience and connect with customers in a new way.
The Wells Fargo chatbot includes answers to basic questions about account balance or recent transactions, which are what most customers use the chatbot for. There are also other features that customers have yet to discover, like diving deeper into spending trends and potential account offers, and Kimarie says the company is discussing how to let customers know about the additional features that can help their banking and savings goals.
Where should companies start if they want to build a chatbot? Kimarie says it doesn’t have to be a grand effort—simply start with a task that customers need and that the chatbot can do very well. Things can grow naturally from there once customers realize the value of the chatbot. For Wells Fargo, that meant delivering an easier way for customers to keep track of their account balances, but other companies can find tasks to simplify for their customers with a chatbot. The important thing is to tweak the chatbot in real time and constantly make adjustments to improve the customer interactions instead of sitting back and waiting for feedback.
Chatbots are a powerful customer experience tool and one that will continue to evolve as technology changes. Although issues around security and privacy still remain and will need to continually be addressed, the foundation is set and the resources are there for companies to take advantage of chatbots. It all comes down to ease—building a chatbot is relatively easy for businesses with resources like Facebook, and using chatbots can make things easier for customers. Although chatbots will never replace human interaction, they are a great resource for expanding how brands and customers connect.