LEVERAGING OUR DIFFERENTIATOR IN THE AGE OF AI – PEOPLE
We are entering a new age of innovation where artificial intelligence will revolutionize the way we work, interact with our customers, and drive business outcomes. It’s going to impact all industries, including banking and financial services. Yet, while everyone rushes up the Gartner hype cycle to the peak of inflated expectations with things like AI, we can’t forget what has always driven innovation, customer experience, and business results—people.
To put it in perspective:
People are the ones who identify the need for innovation. They are the ones who see the gaps in the market and the opportunities for improvement.
People are the ones who develop and implement new ideas. They are the ones who have the skills and expertise to make innovation happen.
People are the ones who use new products and services. They are the ones who provide feedback and help to shape the future of our industry.
In recent years, we have seen a number of examples of how people have driven innovation in financial services. The rise of fintech, for example, has been driven by teams of people who saw the need for more convenient and affordable financial services. These teams developed new technologies and products that have transformed the way people bank, invest, and borrow money.
Yet, innovation in financial services does not need to come solely from Silicon Valley. But rather it can come from a strong financial institution with a rich legacy and a Silicon Valley start-up mindset and culture. That’s what we have been building at Valley Bank for the last 5+ years. We have been focused on innovating our services for the future and preparing ourselves for advances in technology like we see today.
How have we been doing it? What’s it take for a bank that, like most banks, relies on legacy banking systems and cultures to operate?
First, we changed the way we built products and created a more product centric culture. Second, we began to explore and implement new technology to go after underserved markets within the financial ecosystem. Third, and most importantly, we looked closely at how we leveraged our strength – our people and the relationships they build with customers.
Yes, we want to build all new products and go after new markets. But let’s not forget what made us successful in the first place – people. People create and maintain the relationships that are essential for innovation.
Valley has been around for more than 95 years and there is a lot in our DNA that has led to our continued success, such as our customer service, customer centricity, and embeddedness in communities. As the financial services industry continues to evolve, it will become increasingly important for organizations to invest in their people and their cultures to drive innovation that will meet customers’ needs and expectations. By doing so, we can ensure that we have the talent and expertise needed to identify what innovation is needed, build it, and maintain our success for another century.