- October 18, 2020
- Posted by: Stratford Team
- Category: Markets
A view outside Nasdaq in Times Square during the coronavirus pandemic on May 13, 2020 in New York City.
Noam Galai/Getty Images
- The financial industry has a reputation for being willing to try out emerging technologies, which was especially apparent during COVID-19.
- Wall Street is now looking to double-down on digital investments to better meet customer needs and gain actionable insight from the data now stored in the cloud, according to Amazon Web Services managing director Scott Mullins.
- “What COVID did was show them that it’s not something for tomorrow, it’s something for today,” he told Business Insider. “And we’ve seen a large number of organizations lean into and embrace that transformation really quickly.”
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The financial industry has a reputation for being willing to try out emerging technology, like cloud or artificial intelligence.
JPMorgan Chase, for example, is already investing in quantum computing despite the tech being years away from robust commercial use and Bank of America and Nasdaq were well into their cloud migrations before this year, only to have the projects validated by the coronavirus pandemic. HSBC also expanded its cloud investments during the outbreak.
While others remain skeptical out of fear of housing sensitive client data in public servers, among other concerns, those that did make the investments may have had an easier time pivoting after the pandemic forced them to require employees to work from home — including call center workers.
Amazon Web Services managing director Scott Mullins said that the pandemic has also created a record-breaking volume of trading for its Wall Street customers, which AWS supported through enabling them to quickly scale their services to “peak processing demands at a moment’s notice.”
Scott Mullins is a managing director at Amazon Web Services.
Nasdaq, for example, tapped AWS to reduce the amount of time it took to bill clients at the end of the day from 40 minutes to four minutes — a particularly beneficial improvement when factoring in the increased trading volume over the past few months, according to Mullins.
Now, the industry is looking to double-down on those digital overhauls to better meet customer needs and extract actionable insights from the troves of data that is now stored in the cloud, he said.
The financial services sector “has long considered that cloud would be something that’s going to be important for them in the future,” Mullins told Business Insider. “What COVID did was show them that it’s not something for tomorrow, it’s something for today. And we’ve seen a large number of organizations lean into and embrace that transformation really quickly.”
As financial organizations look to plot out the tech investments that will help them continue to mitigate an economically tenuous environment, they’re building upon their cloud migrations by implementing new data analytics tools and upgrading functions like customer service to be more digitally-forward, Mullins said.
“We’re still seeing data analytics become very important,” he added. “We’re also seeing digital channels be a priority as well: ‘How do I create really impactful experiences for customers?'”
Amazon counts Goldman Sachs, Citi Bank, Bloomberg, Charles Schwab, and KeyBank among its financial customers, according to its website, as well as startups like Kabbage.
Using AWS, the small business lender was able to quickly distribute financial aid to struggling companies through the pandemic-spurred Paycheck Protection Program.
“The biggest thing we had to build, which is something we built in partnership with AWS, was the ability to quickly ingest, classify, and extract data from these tax documents to be able to quickly calculate the loan amount and submit those applications,” said Kabbage cofounder and president Kathryn Petralia.
Ultimately, 80% of the 225,000 approved applications that Kabbage managed were fully automated.
KeyBank, a 195-year-old financial firm, was also able to build its own IT portal into the Small Business Administration’s platform in just a few days that helped automate much of the application process for clients. Ultimately, the Cleveland-based lender was able to distribute over 33,000 loans to struggling Main Street firms.
KeyBanks speed in setting up its system shows how the pandemic has shifted firms’ view on technology adoption:
“It’s urgency that has replaced perfectionism,” said Mullins. “It’s actually showing not only the art of the possible, but the actionability of the possible.”