Technology drives change but change has become particularly frenetic in the last decade.
This trend, says Fintech expert Chris Skinner, is partly inspired by the global financial crisis, but equally enabled by the digital revolution.
"I am a technologist," says Skinner "and have spent all of my career looking at how technology might change the future of finance and financial services. ÖBut this is a digital revolution of planet earth and goes much further than just changing banking."
Skinner's commentary in HYPERAUTOMATION a recently published collection of essays on the future of low-code development and business automation schools us on the forces driving the radical change we've seen in the last decade, and on how the rise of non-traditional finance has created inclusive societies and new models of finance.
"These constantly changing times," says Skinner, "call for fintechs and the broader financial services ecosystem to ensure the least fortunate among us do not get left behind."
This is more important than ever as hyperautomation delivers hyper-personalized experiences that customers demand in these constantly changing times.Which is a good segue to the five forces of radical change that will propel us forward in the age of hyperautomation according to Skinner:
"There are many ways for us to change our lifestyle to become more eco-friendly," says Skinner, "including making online payments."
By playing a fun app while making payments, 500 million Chinese Alipay users have planted more than 100 million real trees in Inner Mongolia and Gansu province that cover nearly 1,000 square kilometers of land. This will reduce the carbon emissions of China by an estimated 5% by the end of 2020, according to Skinner.
This is how lessons are learned, by looking at new economies that had little or no historical infrastructure, says Skinner. We see this occurring in India, China, across Asia, Africa and South America. These countries started their infrastructure projects in the internet age, and are turbocharging their economies as a result.
Skinner says that he learned this lesson when visiting Ant Financial in Hangzhou, China. The company has a mission for mobile financial inclusion and has exported its technologies to local partnerships in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, India and more.
Digital technology is bringing simple and easy financial services to markets that have historically been ignored by banks.
"My favorite example is in India," says Skinner. "What's happening there really brings home what is happening with technology and financial inclusion. Paytm, for example, is a mobile wallet that is used across all of India. It has around 400 million users today whereas, just before demonetization in November 2016, it had about 150 million. Because of demonetization and other moves by the Indian government, the story of inclusion in India has risen dramatically, and much of this is thanks to the mobile payments wallet network."
Vijay Shekhar Sharma is the founder of Paytm. He is also a fan of Jack Ma and Alibaba, and wanted to copy Alibaba and Alipay in India. Sharma went to see Jack Ma and persuaded him to invest in his venture. This is why Alibaba and Ant Financial own a substantial part of Paytm. Core technologies behind Paytm are provided by Ant Financial through Open Banking, open payments and open financial services.
These technologies have enabled Paytm to both grow and scale very quickly thanks to cloud-based services. And Ant Financial and Alipay are not just doing this in India, but also with partners in many other countries, from Pakistan to the Philippines to Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea. In other words, Ant Financial has gone global.
As for Paytm's Sharma, he is India's youngest multibillionaire today. But he was homeless just ten years ago, bankrupted by his business partners and sleeping on his friends' sofas to survive. The takeaway according to Skinner?:
"Scaling financial services networks will enable opportunity and inclusion for everyone."
Drawing on years of experience and numerous interviews with senior execs in banking and financial services, Chris Skinner's must-read essay shows us the hidden forces of change that are creating new models of finance.
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