Debbie Bianucci
Debbie Bianucci Jun 27, 2018

BAI Beacon 2018: Banking in action

To kick off 2018, BAI named artificial intelligence its Trend of the Year. Since then, we’ve seen an explosion in the talk surrounding AI to match the technological revolution taking place before us. And as we close in on BAI Beacon this October in Orlando, Florida, it’s a safe bet that AI will dominate many a conversation at the event.

Discussion, debate and discourse are good things when disruptive forces enter the financial services sector. And certainly, AI represents one of the most complicated innovations we’ve faced tech-wise in decades. But how much can talk accomplish? AI is real, it’s here—and the implications are huge. And so the big question arises: What to do with AI now?

Our vision for BAI Beacon is to provide meaningful answers to this question and so many more. In everything, we want to bring unique views that people won’t get elsewhere. We want to connect the dots—by using the most relevant, up-to-date data, listening to thought leaders and sparking the kind of synergistic brainstorming that plants true seeds of change. It cannot be just talk.

Put another way: We envision an event where ideas come in and blueprints come out.

The more we listen to industry leaders, we find the need for actionable insights has never been greater. We have new technology, but what do you actually do with it? We know customer centricity matters, but how should this dictate and influence the development of products, instead of the other way around?

“Customer experience” has taken on buzzword status over the past few years. But has it moved beyond that? I’ve spoken quite a bit at conferences this year, and related to BAI’s board a few weeks ago, that many industry sessions are covering the same topics that we heard ten or even fifteen years ago. We admire the problem, we wrestle with the problem—but we’re not good at moving the ball down field. BAI is changing that. We are covering the most important topics in new and unique ways to give you the perspectives to be able to take action now.

Talent delivers growth and results. Many, many conversations now revolve around talent, especially from the recruiter’s point of view. But from the vantage point of that highly coveted new hire, and the ones already in our midst, it’s professional development that matters. What concrete steps can we take to foster talent development right here, right now?

Meanwhile the financial services industry, as many others do, often falls back on the same canned speech about leadership and how to work hard. Yes, such speeches can be interesting and even inspirational. But talk must take a backseat in a time that demands decisive actions and the most solid information available to power them.

At BAI Beacon, we plan to bring in and connect otherwise disparate pieces of the puzzle: pieces that connect the vital elements banks need to become more effective in actual implementation. If you look at the problem the same exact way you’ve always looked at it, nothing will change. With BAI Beacon we strive to build more cross-functional connections that are often hard to make within your own organization.

If we have done our job well, BAI Beacon will yield rich insights that help executives throughout the industry make better decisions—smart decisions—with confidence. As we continue to prepare for the event, I’m especially excited that we’ll take this approach not just with artificial intelligence, but a host of critical topics as well. In that sense, BAI will center on action—both at the event and in the weeks and months to follow. On doing as opposed to saying. Showing as opposed to telling.

That means listening to what’s going on in the industry while presenting experiences and views from the outside. To that end, we’ve enlisted speakers such as Andreas Weigend, founder of the Social Data Lab and former Chief Scientist at Amazon. The promise of harnessing outside experts is compelling. New viewpoints lead to new ways of seeing; seeing anew helps us spot new paths; and new paths help us forge ahead like never before.

As our plans continue to unfold, rest assured we will walk our talk and practice these principles ourselves. We’re in our third year with BAI Beacon and we continue to evolve and innovate. As we encourage the industry to innovate, we recognize that we must lead by example.

In the end, the benefits will not only be mutual but also multiply long after the last person heads home. We invite you to come join us at BAI Beacon because our commitment to delivering something uniquely valuable —that gives you insights and tools to lead the powerful work of innovation and change—only increases with time. BAI has meant many things to the financial services industry since our organization first took shape in the 1920s. In 2018, and with the innovative experience BAI Beacon, we know that BAI will make a difference for you and the industry.

Debbie Bianucci is the president and CEO of BAI.

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