Forrester's Digital Transformation Forum 2017: The Future Won’t Wait, So Neither Should You

Martin Gill

We’ve spent the last few weeks hothousing ideas for the forthcoming Digital Transformation forum in Chicago on May 9th and 10th. We’ve been identifying the key themes that will ripple through our Digital Transformation events in 2017. Themes that resonate with where the market is at right now, and ones that point to the rapidly emerging future.

 

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Number of Apple Pay Users Tripled in 2016 - Holy Cow!

Julie Ask

Apple announced its Q1 FY2017 earnings yesterday. They sold a lot of iPhone 7’s and beat sales estimates. More interesting to me though was the news on Apple Pay … the number of Apple Pay users tripled in the past year, with hundreds of millions of transactions and billions of dollars in purchases in the December quarter alone. This represents nearly 500% increase for Apple Pay transactions year-on-year!  

Forrester data shows that 11% of online consumers have used Apple Pay. Among those, almost ⅔ use Apple Pay all the time or frequently when it is available.

For full disclosure, I love Apple Pay - especially using it on my Apple Watch.

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Your Mobile Website Makes Me Sad

Martin Gill
One of the best parts about being a Research Director here at Forrester, rather than an Analyst, is I get to be involved in a wider range of research topics than before. 
 
I’ve always been interested in mobile, but I’ve never really covered it as a subject. We have an embarrassment of way more qualified analysts like Julie Ask, Mike Facemire, Jenny Wise, and Thomas Husson to name a few. Their knowledge on the subject far outstrips mine. So it’s been a fun journey over the last six months working with Ted Schadler as he’s espoused one simple, powerful, unequivocal viewpoint:
 
 
Woah there, Ted, was my first reaction. You can’t say that. What about… erm… or, no, what about… nope, not that one either. 
 
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Disruptive Fintech Is Dead — Long Live Collaborative Fintech!

Zhi-Ying Ng

As we move closer to the end of January 2017, one thing’s for sure: digital financial innovation shows no signs of abating in Asia Pacific, and a series of financial technology (fintech) startups continue to put Singapore and Hong Kong firmly on the innovation map. Just last week Next Money held its Fintech Finals 2017 (FF17) in Hong Kong, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also announced that it will hold the Singapore Fintech Festival 2017 in November, the second year in a row that the regulator will be hosting the event.

FinovateAsia 2016 in Hong Kong and the Global Fintech Hackcelerator in Singapore last year gave us a glimpse into how fintech in the region will develop in 2017:

  • Asia’s governments are playing a pivotal role in driving fintech investment. MAS has committed nearly $160 million through 2020 to the Financial Sector Technology & Innovation (FSTI) scheme to fund infrastructure and deliver fintech services aimed at establishing Singapore as a smart financial center, as part of the Singapore government’s Smart Nation initiative. The Hong Kong government has announced a $370 million Innovation and Technology Venture Fund aimed at encouraging private venture funds to increase their investments in technology startups through a matching process. Both MAS and InvestHK have established dedicated fintech teams.
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Digital Insurance Success Demands New Metrics

Zhi-Ying Ng

Digital technologies are transforming the entire value chain of insurance, not only opening up new distribution opportunities, but also altering how insurers can assess, price, and manage risks, and creating new distribution and business models. At Forrester, we have done extensive research over the past year that involved speaking to incumbent insurers and insurance technology providers, as well as leveraging our consumer technographics data for our digital insurance strategy playbook. The playbook provides guidance that digital business strategy professionals need to formulate and hone their digital insurance strategy in the age of the customer.

We have recently published the executive overview, landscape, processes, assessment, and benchmark chapters.

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It's Time To Rethink Digital Banking Metrics

Zhi-Ying Ng

This time of the year is significant not only because of the never-ending amount of Christmas log cakes (or puddings) that we guiltily consume without restraint at our offices, it is also when we sit together to talk about everything that has transpired in the past year. As we go into the festivities over the next few days, this is the time for us to pause and reflect on the things that have gone well, and those that haven’t quite gotten to the stage of being ideal.

For the financial services sector in particular, this means taking stock of your digital transformation journey by evaluating your progress in digital banking in the age of the customer.

At Forrester, we have done extensive research that involved speaking to incumbent banks globally and leveraging our consumer technographics data for our digital banking strategy playbook. We have recently published the digital banking strategic plan, processes, and benchmark chapters. 

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North American Life Insurers Are In Digital Denial

Ellen Carney

Are you feeling wistful about what online insurance experiences used to be?  Can’t remember how to get back to the Wayback Machine?  You can indulge that nostalgia by simply shopping online for life insurance.

 Beginning in Q3, we looked at 13 websites—ten carriers, two online agencies, and one aggregator—in the US and Canada to get a sense of how easy it was for someone who was interested in buying a basic term life policy to use digital channels learn about coverage options, get an estimate, find and connect with an agent or advisor, and apply (up to the binding process).[i]

What prompted us to explore the digital buying experience for American and Canadian life insurance shoppers?  Our data showed that when considering life insurance, shoppers:

  • Turn to personal connections. The financial dynamics of the family and social networks play an important role in the insurance research process, especially for younger buyers. Nearly 4 in 10 Americans said that they had used friends and family to research life insurance, while 13% of Canadians said that they had spoken with family or friends about the coverage.  These personal connections are manifest through comments like, “I bought my life insurance from Company X (or Agent Y). You should check them out”, whereupon the dutiful relation goes to the life insurer’ or agent’s website.
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Three Ways That Retailers Can Step Their Game Up In 2017

This year has been no picnic for retailers. With Thanksgiving weekend upon us, many retailers are in the throes of the holidays and are doing all they can to achieve a strong finish to a bumpy, even bewildering, year. Retailers now must deliver rich, personalized customer experiences to win the customer loyalty battle for two key reasons:

  • Consumers are still cautious…:Almost 10 years after the last financial crisis, the national unemployment rate is low, gas prices are down, and real income is up – but continued tempered spending shows that consumers aren’t taking anything for granted. Economic and political turmoil globally isn’t helping, nor is uncertainty about the implications of Brexit and the U.S. elections.
  • …But they’re also empowered:Owning multiple connected devices is increasingly the norm in the U.S., so it’s not surprising that 42% of U.S. online adults are researching products via online customer reviews weekly if not daily– double the activity just two years earlier. In an era of “anywhere, anytime” commerce, consumers are actively using their smartphones not just on the go, but even in the store itself. And while they may be fiscally skittish, we’ve found that consumers today are willing to try new things faster than in the past.  
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What Financial Services Execs Can Expect In 2017

Peter Wannemacher

Every fall, more than a dozen Forrester analysts across multiple roles meet to discuss what executives and leaders at financial services firms should anticipate over the next year. Driven by our ongoing research, the result of this brainstorm is now available as the just-published “Predictions 2017: Pioneering Financial Providers Will Partner With Fintech To Build Ecosystems” report. Forrester clients can read the full predictions report by clicking the button here:

               

For non-clients, here are three of the 16 predictions we outline in our new report:

  • Leading providers and fintech firms will partner to build ecosystems. Dynamic ecosystems of value threaten traditional, vertically integrated financial firms that want to stick with the old-school value chain. But ecosystems also offer opportunities to financial providers that think carefully about the roles they want to play in the ecosystem — and by extension, the role they want to play in customers’ lives. Pioneering financial providers like BBVA have built ecosystems with fintech firms like OnDeck, and we predict that in 2017, more leading firms will follow suit and build dynamic ecosystems of value.   
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Assess Your Digital Store Functionality

Michelle Beeson

The role of the store is changing. Consumers are increasingly able to research products and services they are interesting in buying, via their own digital devices, anywhere they choose - whether it’s browsing on their tablet while watching TV or their smartphone during the morning commute.

Customers often arrive in store armed with a wealth of information, which can put sales associates on the back foot. Retailers are currently exploring how to bring digital capabilities in store to improve customer service and engagement – both via their sales associates and directly to customers. But retailers must not get side tracked by shiny new “star wars” style technology. For digital store experience technologies to be successful, they must integrate with enterprise wide systems and have a tangible impact on in-store customer experience and/or operations.

To help digital business executives assess their digital store capabilities, Forrester has developed the Digital Store Functionality Benchmark as part of the Digital Store Playbook 2016. In this new benchmark Forrester assesses 20 retailers across the US and the UK for their use of in-store digital technology to support customer engagement and service as well as store operations.

Key takeaways from the evaluation are:

It Is Early Days For The Digital Store. Retailers are just starting their digital store transformation projects, with 16 of the 20 retailers scoring less than 50 of a total of 100. Many are still developing supporting technology and in the process of piloting various applications for new technology in-store.

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