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WHY INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS IS AT THE CENTRE OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Cyrus, MD, EMEA, SocialChorus

 

If you sometimes wonder what your communications team actually does, apart from sharing corporate news, earnings announcements and dealing with the odd crisis you may want to think again. Often viewed as the dark horse of the business, internal communications and these wizards with words have the ability to transform your organisation and employee engagement for the better.

 

It’s no surprise that today’s enterprises face increasing challenges, from brand reputation to employee retention, which can be exacerbated by a lack of synchronized communications or reliance on one tool to reach everyone. You may often wonder how you can better inform, support, and connect to all of your employees using modern communications strategies? However, thanks to software and the proliferation of handheld devices there has never been a better time to digitally transform your internal communications.

 

At SocialChorus, we recently analysed data across our global programs, with information from more than 1.5 million employees in 20 industries, across 180 countries. We looked at the figures from hundreds of millions of user events, and millions of emails and push notifications sent and surveyed 840 end users. The findings from the SocialChorus 2018 Comms Effectiveness Survey made interesting reading and demonstrate how communications experts within your organisation can dramatically increase employee engagement and in turn, create better employee alignment to your company’s goals and vision.

 

Most communicators publish content to multiple sources, including company intranets and newsletters, but employees are three times more likely to interact with mobile than web-based content. We identified and studied the most active, retained users, who came back to their company apps frequently over 90 days. The data found that personalisation and customisation drive retention and help form a “Power User.” A power user will create and personalise a profile (86%), read content from emails or push notifications (77%) and contribute content (25%).

 

According to the survey, two-thirds of workers also found their company app easier and faster than other content sources, such as their intranet, email, and printed materials. In addition, mobile apps proved their worth when trying to reach a distributed workforce and deskless workers, such as retail and factory employees.

 

We also found that video helps to keep 53% more employees as active users after their first 30 days using the company mobile app. Communicators and company leaders who use video to communicate with employees see three times higher click-through rates than any other type of content. The top-performing videos (measured by percentage of likes) were either less than 30 seconds in length or 60-90 seconds long.

 

However, one area where companies are failing is in spamming their employees and assuming that one size fits all. This observation breaks down into a few key areas. Content should be bite-sized and varied. We found that employees use their company app for around two minutes at a time. That doesn’t necessarily mean the content should be shorter, but it does need to be broken up with headlines, photos, links and other content that is easy to scan or read on smaller screens. The way in which it is presented should all be mixed up. A variety of visuals ranging from photos to infographics will help employees to grasp your communications more easily.

 

And most importantly, don’t make the content all about the CEO. Make them want to come back for more. We found that those who varied their messages from contests to personal and professional tips, employee recognition and awards as well as emergency alerts and short messages from the CEO had far more success in engaging their employees. The survey found nearly double the clickthrough rate with targeted channels when people felt more engaged with relevant content.

 

As we know from our own consumer encounters there is nothing better than a personalised experience. We found that users who personalised their content feeds were four times more likely to still be using the app after 90 days. Two-thirds of users surveyed found news on their company app easier and fast than other content sources such as intranets and company newsletters. (77%), printed materials (87%) and enterprise social networks (81%).

 

Embracing handheld devices also helped for delivering push notifications. The survey found that 66% of iOS users opted in to receive push notifications, which is significantly higher than the 40% industry average. Push notifications help to deliver important news to employees, and 77% of power users read content from a push notification.

 

With all this talk of snackable content, delivery via different channels you could think that email no longer matters. But that’s not the case. What we found is that communicators who use the platform to publish once and distribute to other channels, like email, intranets, and social media, reach far more employees overall. The industry benchmark for email open rates within large enterprises is 23% but, in our survey, we found it to be 45%.

 

There is no doubt that companies thrive and win when their workers feel informed, valued and engaged. The technology and the devices now exist to drive employee engagement and help both the business and people who are the driving force to flourish. Can you really afford to keep doing the same old newsletters and emails knowing that no-one is reading or interested? An engaged workforce is a loyal one.

 

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Technology

DISPELLING BIOMETRIC MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS

By Lina Andolf-Orup, Head of Marketing at Fingerprints

Gangsters cutting off enemies’ fingers to access secret locations and spies lifting fingerprints from martini glasses – the imagination of the entertainment world has been running wild ever since biometrics entered the scene.

Couple that with the limitations of some early biometric solutions from fifteen years ago, still anchored in the minds of many consumers, and you have the perfect recipe for an apprehensive and uncertain public.

 

Thawing lukewarm attitudes with a biometric touch

The biometrics industry has made great strides in the last few years – something particularly true for smartphones. Fingerprint authentication has replaced PINs and passwords as the most popular way to authenticate on mobile, with 70% of shipped smartphones now featuring biometrics.

And it doesn’t end there. Many adjacent markets are now eager to benefit from the secure and convenient authentication solutions that biometrics offer. Take the payments industry, for example, where biometrics payment cards are currently gathering real momentum.

However, some consumers are still uneasy about accepting biometrics. A recent study found that 56% of US and EU consumers are concerned about the switch to biometrics as it’s not enough understood to be trusted.

Although attitudes are shifting for the better, stats like this demonstrate there is still some work to do to disprove common biometric myths and showcase just how smart today’s solutions really are.

 

Lina Andolf-Orup

Dispel, adopt, repeat

The evolution in consumer biometrics in the last two decades has been phenomenal. And today’s solutions are far more advanced and safe than many may think.

To help bring an end to the myths, let’s expose some of the most common misconceptions around biometrics.

Myth: Biometric data is stored as images in easy-to-hack databases.

A leading myth about biometrics is that when a fingerprint is registered to a device, it is stored as an image of the actual fingerprint. This image can then be stolen and used across applications. In reality, the biometric data is stored as a template in binary code – put simply, encrypted 0s and 1s. Storing a mathematical representation rather than an image makes hacking considerably more challenging. In most consumer applications, this template is also not stored in a cloud-based location, its securely hosted in hardware on the device itself for example in the smartphone, in the payment card. Thus, it stays privately with its owner.

Myth: Fingerprints can be easily replicated to ‘trick’ devices.

The internet is full of articles and videos that claim it is possible to use materials from cello tape to gummy bears to craft fingerprint spoofs and access biometric systems. Although there may have been a time where gummy bear spoofing was the go-to party trick, todays’ consumer biometric authentication solutions have too many technological defences, such as improved image quality and matching algorithms, to simply ‘trick’ devices. Plus, on top this, the criminal needs to have access to the person’s device where this fingerprint is enrolled e.g. smartphone, payment card, before he/she notices and blocks it. This is not scalable nor common, in comparison to gaining access to someone’s PIN code or skimming a contactless card.

Myth: Physical change will prohibit access to my device.

Although our irises don’t change as we age, our fingerprints can and our faces will. Does that mean we have to update our biometric devices every few months to capture these changes? Not quite! Unless there are drastic, sudden changes, the ‘self-learning’ algorithms in modern-day biometric systems are able to keep up with our developing looks.

 

Who you gonna call? Mythbusters!

These are just some of the common biometric myths and misunderstandings perpetuating in consumer mindsets. Thankfully, though, while we’re working hard to rid the world of the myths, belief in the value of biometrics is only expected to grow. But as solutions expand and diversify, the myth-busting fight will continue.

Fingerprints has been a leader of innovation in biometrics for the last two decades. We’re proud of the expertise and R&D we’ve been able to pour into our biometrics solutions to deliver stronger security and a better user-experience. To learn more about the most common biometric misconceptions and the modern-day technology that allows us to dispel them, download our eBook here.

 

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Technology

WHAT EVOLUTIONARY AI MEANS FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES

FINANCIAL SERVICES

by Babak Hodjat, VP of Evolutionary AI at Cognizant

 

Many banks and other financial services institutions (FIs) are beginning to recognise the benefits of AI-driven solutions as a way to get ahead in the market and challenge the competition. Amongst many other benefits, the technology enables organisations to offer hyper-personalised customer experience,  dramatically improve internal decision making, and drive operational efficiency. However, many businesses are struggling to move beyond the experimental phase and reach actual AI deployment. It is those organisations that are at risk of being left behind.

The financial world has already been transformed by AI, and this transformation is continuous. A new breed of AI, known as ‘evolutionary AI’ has begun to further accelerate innovation. It is capable of automatically designing itself with little need for explicit programming by humans – innovatively creating complex AI models, and optimising decisions considering multiple scenarios.

This technology is revolutionary for industries across the world, but in particular it is set to transform the financial services sector. Enabling businesses to spot novel strategies that would never have been identified by human data scientists, and, in turn, allowing companies to take full advantage of today’s massive data sets – evolutionary AI will soon be a vital tool in all FIs’ arsenals.

 

The nuts and bolts of evolutionary AI

Emerging technologies that enable AI algorithms to design themselves are allowing organisations to transcend human limitations. Evolutionary AI operates iteratively. Firstly, it randomly generates a set of potential solutions to form an initial population and assigns a score to each solution based on how well it performs relative to other solutions. In the second round, it retains the solutions that performed best, perhaps only 5% of the total, and recombines their components, sometimes “mutating” them to create a new population. This new population is then tested, and the process begins again. Over multiple generations, the appropriate components of the more successful solutions become increasingly prevalent in the population, and eventually a solution is discovered that yields the best outcomes.

 

Advantages and use cases

Compared to human design, evolutionary AI can be deployed far more quickly, avoids biases and preconceptions, and typically performs better. Furthermore, the chosen model will evolve and improve over time based on new data.

Evolutionary AI can be applied in a wide variety of areas at FIs. Some examples include designing quantitative trading strategies to maximise returns while minimising risk and loan underwriting. Rather than relying on human analysis, evolutionary AI solutions can quickly analyse all the combinations of relevant variables to create models that more accurately assess the risk of default by a potential borrower.

 

A recipe for success

In order to reap the benefits of the technology, FIs should focus on the following:

  • Responsible AI – Behave in ways that make customers and employees comfortable, i.e. not making decisions that are unethical or exhibit bias. Companies need to monitor them to ensure they continue to act appropriately, as they learn and evolve.
  • Viewing AI through a business lens – Having AI projects managed by cross-functional teams with business executives in the lead is a good place to start. Companies also need to look across their organisations to identify opportunities to generate concrete business value from AI — not only in reduced costs but also in boosting revenues by delivering enhanced customer experiences and through improved decision-making.
  • Enhance data management – AI applications depend on access to timely and accurate data, which is a challenge for many FIs that have fragmented data architectures with multiple legacy systems. Companies need to identify which types of data are required for each AI project and ensure they can be captured in an appropriate format.
  • Approach with speed and caution – AI projects need to be rolled out quickly, while at the same time be rigorously measured, so failures are terminated promptly while successes are moved into production.

The sophistication of AI technology is set to significantly improve over the coming years as it continues to design and test itself. As a result, it will become more critical to the productivity of FIs, and soon businesses will recognise it as a vital tool for consulting on important business decisions. It will not be long before humans and AI are working alongside each other, with robots handling routine tasks, enabling employees to focus on more complex and sensitive activities. Delivering more value together than either could on their own.

 

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