Forget AI ‘experts’. Democratise it for all

Calls have mounted for training and knowledge-sharing of artificial intelligence (AI) to become a staple across financial services organisations, after it was found a more ‘democratised’ culture around AI resulted in better data practices and customer experience.

Several thought leaders speaking FST Media’s Future of Financial Services, Sydney event earlier today have signalled the importance of creating a culture and environment for employees to better understand AI instead of gatekeeping its benefits among ‘experts’.

Rebecca Engel, Director Financial Services Industry at Microsoft, said this aspect was critical for the Australian financial services industry to achieve “cross-enterprise, broad, AI-enabled organisations”.

“[It’s important] to start thinking about pull versus push. Rather than end users pulling insights out of us, we need to switch the model to trigger the right pushes [for consumer personalisation] and we need to do this with the right regulatory overlay,” she said.

“We need to move from human to artificial and shift those tedious and cumbersome workloads to AI. Removing the burden of mundane work that is not meaningful for individuals is vital for organisational success and retention of key talent and staff.

“We also need to move from expert to democratised by unleashing the benefits of AI for all employees across the board.”

This sentiment was also echoed by Evy Theunis, Managing Director – FIG – Head Digital Assets at DBS Bank (Singapore), who told event attendees it was vital for the financial institution to create the culture before AI could be implemented organisation-wide.

“Everybody in the bank has the opportunity to be trained,” she said.

“Whether it’s learning about the metaverse or data, training is available to all. We’re a learning organisation and as many people as possible will be trained.

“When something is a priority, people get into the details to really understand how it works and we make sure we use all of our collective knowledge to get it right and iterate and improve on. That is the secret sauce for success.”

Theunis said this model of AI and data inclusivity allows employees to feel more empowered and able to assist clients at every step of relationship management.

“At DBS, there is extreme focus on the big and audacious goals that are set from the top down and then the teams have the autonomy to execute,” she said.

“We’re very pragmatic in the way we do things. We don’t try to get things perfect the first time, we just go. We then iterate and iterate until we get it right.”