Artificial Intelligence in SME Financial Sector. Study by SME Banking Club and Asseco


The pandemic has made technology even stronger and revolutionized many aspects of our lives. Progressive digitization has changed the way we handle everyday matters. This also translates into customer expectations towards financial institutions and the way they use their services. Therefore, to maintain their position, organizations should implement artificial intelligence, which will increase the quality of service and personalize product offers. As indicated by the respondents of the Survey conducted by Asseco and SME Banking Club, these are the most important goals of customer data analysis.

”Artificial intelligence in financial institutions. Next-Generation Intelligence Platform for SME financial sector” Study summarizes the current state of European market preparedness for the implementation of artificial intelligence technology in financial institutions.

It is a look at the challenges faced by institutions, such as banks or factoring companies – better adjustment of the product offer for small and medium-sized enterprises, greater customer support, and optimization of customer service costs. The variety of issues depending on the institution shows how different the points of view and the approach of financial organizations to development directions can be.

“The results of our research have shown that financial institutions focus on customer-centricity. The aspect of getting to know the needs of your recipients and striving to personalize your actions becomes crucial. The data analysis provides support and allows for a significant acceleration of customer service, even better selection of offers, or a more efficient financing process. The answer to these needs is artificial intelligence (AI), which can process huge amounts of data and make analysis based on it. However, at the moment only 32% of respondents declare the implementation of solutions based on AI. Most of them use it in selected processes, and not in the whole organization. The good news is that 65% of respondents to our survey plan to deploy AI-based solutions within the next two years”, – said Olena Gryniuk, CEE Regional Director at SME Banking Club.

Product personalization and improvement of service quality are the priorities of data analysis

90% of financial institutions realize the importance of analyzing the customer’s life cycle. In addition, survey respondents indicate a trend related to getting to know the recipients, their preferences, needs, and offering them personalized products and services. On the other hand, the main goal resulting from the data analysis is to improve the quality of service, ensuring a better SME customer experience.

„When analyzing data of customers, we would like to learn as much as we can about their need for support from their financial institution – here and now. However, every SME customer is different, this also means different needs: having business cards, increasing bank account limit, etc. In that case, how are financial institutions supposed to know what to offer a customer at any given time? It is through the Customer Data Platform and thorough data analysis that we can identify those greatest financial needs at any given time. The survey results show that depending on the industry asked, the emphasis on customer analytics is a little different. For banks, better customer service and personalized offers matter most; for factoring companies, customer retention; for other institutions, meeting growing customer demands. All of these goals have one common denominator – to achieve them, we need to know what specifically our customer needs at any given time”, – emphasizes Jarosław Bryl, Director of the Business Intelligence Division at Asseco Poland.

Artificial intelligence becomes a “must-have”

Currently, artificial intelligence algorithms are used in only 1/3 of the surveyed organizations. The area of sales, marketing, and customer service is the most developed in this respect. Nevertheless, machine learning is gaining popularity, over 60% of the surveyed institutions plan to develop in this area.

 „Nowadays, implementing artificial intelligence into organizations has become a certain „must-have” without which it is hard to stay competitive on the market. Increasingly more companies in the financial sector are planning and choosing to use machine learning models, but regulations, which are not well defined here, remain a huge obstacle for many areas, especially those where full transparency is required. An additional barrier may be the fact that often financial institutions do not have teams within their organization that are specialized in artificial intelligence and are not capable of taking on such a challenge”, – adds Jarosław Bryl, Director of Business Intelligence Division, Asseco Poland.

 Survey respondents representing the banking industry indicated customer needs as the issue with the greatest potential for the implementation of artificial intelligence. On the other hand, factoring companies select the process of “productizing” the client, offering him new forms of cooperation or services, but based on his needs, and not on the direct sale of a given product.

„Hyper-automation, which is the use of artificial intelligence to automate tasks and processes performed by employees, among other things, is a concept that has been on the list of major technology trends for the past two years. Not all processes can be subject to that change, so we should consider several elements when deciding to do this in our organization. The most important issue is access to good quality data – let’s choose the area for which we can acquire such data. Next, define the problem well and identify KPIs that will help evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented solution. A very good example is the area related to product recommendations – companies that have centralized platforms collecting customer and product data usually have already met the first most important condition – access to good quality data”, – noted Patrycja Sobczyk, Product Owner at Asseco Poland.

he key challenges in organizations related to the implementation of artificial intelligence are related to integration, both with the solutions used and the processes. Almost half of the respondents indicated this aspect as the biggest or very big challenge they face. Proven suppliers offering analytical systems come to the rescue here. Based on the data and observation of customers’ online activities, they define their profile and recommend the best offer in real-time.

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About the Study

Asseco and SME Banking Club Study ”Artificial intelligence in financial institutions. Next-Generation Intelligence Platform for SME financial sector” summarizes the current state of European market preparedness for the implementation of artificial intelligence technology in financial institutions. It is based on a study in which we turned to representatives of banks, factoring, and leasing companies serving small and medium-sized enterprises throughout Europe. We asked them about the biggest challenge of 2021, what is the purpose of analyzing the customer’s life and whether they already use solutions based on artificial intelligence, and what are their plans for their development. The obtained data published in this report indicate the direction and pace of development in this area for the coming years.