New way of working
The COVID-19 crisis has forced us to adapt our way of working and has boosted the pace of innovation for different working methods. We have received substantial feedback from our employees and clearly need to maintain a certain level of flexibility, even at times when the corona measures allow us to move freely. Our aim is to strike the right balance by giving employees the freedom to organise their work in the way that allows them to be most productive.
We are constantly looking for new ways to use data to change lives and build a better future. Our powerful combination of intellectuals, valuable data and cutting-edge technology allows us to do things others cannot. That is why we want our work culture to be the best it can be. Our office will be an environment for team meetings and collaboration, which will allow us to maintain and nurture our special and vibrant company culture.
As a result of the pandemic, individuals have turned to cloud applications – as accessing branches, or using cash, became increasingly difficult, particularly during lockdown. That also meant a shift towards digital banking, with many people taking advantage of new apps and services. To better understand the needs and priorities of organisations in the context of PSD2 in this changing climate, we conducted an Open Banking study involving more than 100 clients from financial services, telecommunications, insurance, and ecommerce sectors, across different countries. This research provides insights as to where businesses see the biggest opportunities and challenges, which some of my colleagues and I also discussed during our Open Banking webinar.
Open Banking for SMEs is likely to increase rapidly in 2022. Early adopters of the system will become more advanced and will have a competitive advantage. Additionally, we will likely see more lenders improving customer experiences and decision making via PSD2 possibilities.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
In April 2021, a draft of the EU Artificial Intelligence (AI) act was created, aiming at a legal framework for the use of AI and machine learning (ML). AI technology allows customers to better support their business decisions. Many businesses in the credit risk management sector have already been looking at ways to adapt AI and ML into their practices. Almost half of the companies will invest in improved data analytics capabilities, such as machine learning, as they no longer have sufficient confidence in their current models for analysing and managing credit risk. Forward-thinking companies will need to use alternative and synthetic data to predict the credit needs of their customers.
For next year, it is paramount to have a conscious mindset when designing algorithms and observing data. As we design algorithms, it is essential that we have socially conscious, diverse teams that continually ask questions on how these algorithms could be used to hurt and exploit specific communities – particularly those already vulnerable. To ensure confidence in AI/ML models, they should be developed fair, meaning not biased with respect to protected attributes, and explainable in what happens from input to output. To help counteract certain biases, it helps to have a team working on analysing data and programming AI algorithms, in which women are equally represented. Companies that focus on data science and analytics have a responsibility to support women in STEM careers with resources and opportunities, so it is a privilege to say that three of our senior executives at Experian Netherlands are female. We plan to continue to narrow the gender gap as we move forward.
Over the past year, we have identified certain trends, including the way consumers make their online purchases. This has implications for companies and how they should respond to potential fraud and how they should protect their data. 58% of online consumers made at least one purchase via a smartphone in the first half of 2021. These smartphone purchases are generally more impulsive, which could cause consumers to overlook phishing attempts.
Addressing the growing threat from fraud, is one of the key challenges Experian has been focussed on to help financial institutions. In addition, we also provided support in opening-up credit to underserved communities, adapting to changing consumer expectations and behaviours, and becoming a more agile technology provider in an ever-changing market. This was recognised by the IDC FinTech Rankings were Experian moved to #11, which is a big jump compared to our previous position at #45.
With that said, I wish you and your beloved ones a happy holiday and we look forward to engaging and collaborating in 2022.
Director and Head of Analytics for the Netherlands