3 Questions with Maria Allen of Unisys

FintekNews is pleased to offer our readers our “3 Questions” column, where we chat with a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Maria Allen of Unisys, a global information technology company that builds high-performance, security-centric solutions for the most demanding businesses and governments on Earth.

NAME: Maria Allen
Vice President & Global Head of Financial Services

What area/s of fintech do you believe will grow the most in the coming 5 years?

The sector of online payments, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and insurance technology (InsurTech) I believe will experience fast growth in the next five years.

P2P loans have a great potential to grow as these products facilitate easy-to-access money to financially underserved consumers. FinTechs have typically targeted affluent consumer base businesses; however, a number of FinTechs now recognize the need to reinvent the marketplace of financial services for the underbanked/underserved consumers around the globe. Emerging companies will capitalize on increasingly robust and inexpensive computing power, omnipresent consumer internet and mobile access. In this capacity, I believe FinTechs will continue to simplify access to relevant, high-quality products for underserved consumers.

Additionally, though the InsurTech market has expanded considerably, the expansion of the system will continue into the future. Supported by InsurTechs, the global insurance market is poised to change significantly in the next five years. One key area of focus for the sector is to enhance their on-demand accessibility for real-time data to better understand the lifecycle of insurance, such as customer targeting, pricing, products, and loss prevention. Furthermore InsurTechs have a huge opportunity to facilitate automation of consumer-facing solutions such as video, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to offer innovation, improved productivity, shorten lifecycles and ultimately enhance the customer experience.

What do you believe the next major innovation in financial technology will be and why?

Voice banking technology will continue to grow and evolve as a substantiated way to deliver a differentiated customer experience and help financial organizations gain market share. As financial institutions continue to accelerate innovative ways to make everyday banking simple, voice interaction can provide valuable insight into the customer needs and behaviors allowing banks and FinTechs to offer more personalized services with a distinctive brand touch through digital banking channels.

The future conversational AI in retail banking fundamentally lies on whether banks can offer their customers an easier, faster way to do their banking. As AI technology improves, this will become more achievable. Banks can strategically partner with companies that have expertise in conversational AI technology stack in order to build customized voice User Interface (UI) systems unique in their business – enhancing their digital banking innovation strategies.

How do you feel consumers (or if more relevant for your firm – businesses) are adapting to the facet of fintech that your company operates within?

Traditionally, the financial services industry required fixed assets to scale. However, new technologically-enabled forms of competition from FinTechs and non-traditional new entrants are changing the landscape of banking significantly. Financial institutions overall have developed astoundingly complex and costly business and technology operation models, which they are now being forced to simplify.

FinTechs have brought transformative and disruptive innovation to financial services globally. Because FinTech startups have the advantage of not being restricted by legacy systems and processes, they are able to move fast to develop innovative products and services that compete directly with traditional products and services offered by financial services without the high customer acquisition cost and regulatory obstacles. As a result, banks are adapting to their constraints by embracing partnerships with FinTechs to expand innovation initiatives and accelerate their customer engagement strategies. FinTechs are also partnering with innovative technology firms such as Unisys to help scale and expand their solutions.

Maria L. Allen is Vice President and Global Head of Financial Services at Unisys Corporation. She has more than 30 years’ experience in business operations, technology and sales, having worked both in and with large number of financial institutions across diverse geographies.