Monday, March 16, 2020

The Rise of RegTech and Its Impact on The Future of Financial Services

When it comes to reporting, compliance and regulation, the global financial crisis of 2008 was a game-changer. Over the last decade, you may have become aware of an evolution in Financial Technology (FinTech) that has resulted in tech for financial regulation or Regulatory Technology (RegTech).

In a December 6, 2018, MarketsandMarkets report, it was estimated that the RegTech market today could expand to $12.3 billion by 2023. By innovating common regulatory problems, RegTech makes use of developments like Blockchain technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Big Data.

However, as evolution continues in the solutions found within RegTech, the regulatory landscape may have to surmount many obstacles in order to keep pace with the ensuing disruption.

What might the future hold and how could RegTech impact your overall digital strategy?

Regulations are skyrocketing

A massive deployment of new regulation has emerged as a result of the global financial crisis, with over 50,000 new regulations since the catastrophe. To put things into perspective, that's one new regulatory alert every seven minutes!

This development has taken a toll on the financial service industry, with banks alone spending hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

Monday, March 9, 2020

The Evolution of the Digital Wallet - A Reflection on its Past and What Might Lie Ahead

It has been described as the future of payments. The digital wallet (commonly known as the e-wallet) essentially lets users store all their cards, bank accounts and financial necessities in a virtual system. 

How did e-wallet make its way into our lives?

How does it remain such a prominent part of the digitization and digital transformation happening in this era and what’s in store for its future?

What is a digital wallet?

In a nutshell, the digital wallet works a lot like your physical wallet, only it’s an electronic version of the same concept. It lets people store their money and make payments all from the comfort of their homes (or wherever they are for that matter). It’s a virtual mobile bank at your fingertips. Digital wallets these days are also reinforced with security measures, so your financial information can be kept safe during transactions.

This remarkable innovation provides us with accessibility and convenience, offering loads of features all from our smartphones. There are various types of e-wallets available, each with their own unique sets of features.

Mysterious beginnings

For all the attention given to the digital wallet, its origins are pretty murky. The very first instance of an e-wallet can't exactly be pinned down. What’s known is that the idea had been in circulation since the late ‘90s, with discussions about a concept made up of virtual payment systems and capabilities for storing cash. However, very few people were using it at the time.

In fact, several companies and individuals tried to come up with early versions of the e-wallet but nothing much came out of it. Even eBay launched a series of early e-payment programs but these failed to take off due to poor publicity. Ultimately, the timing just wasn't right.

E-wallets took time to conceptualize

The first series of e-wallets that was developed was basically considered a failure and is now known as the first generation. The second-generation garnered a little more traction, with even MasterCard and Visa coming on board. However, there just wasn't enough focus on simplification and integration of solutions was practically nonexistent.

It took roughly two decades and a full technological revolution to turn things around. Now, e-wallets are back with a vengeance, incorporating full-fledged integration, solid security features and an extended range of potential applications.

The e-wallet as we know it today is a secure system that can store payment information from as many cards as you want and can remember passwords for exchanges from all the websites you engage with. Transactions are fluid and cryptocurrency can be used. Businesses can capitalize on new developments as finance and technology become increasingly intertwined by making a firm commitment to system modernization.

The current condition of the e-wallet

Person-to-person (P2P) payments use mobile applications to move funds from debit or credit card networks and other financial institutions. These can be used to conduct transactions. Person-to-Business (P2B) payments - use a list of systems to transfer payments between a user's mobile device and a business's account.

Banks are getting on board too, with initiatives like Zelle. This digital payments network is owned by some of the largest banks. Zelle lets users transfer funds directly into bank accounts. Private tech giants like Samsung, Apple and Google, are already paving the way with their very own digital wallets. These models let consumers interact with a massive list of merchants. Even retailers and consumer brands like Starbucks and Walmart are getting in on the action, with their wallets designed to cater to a smaller handful of merchants.

The future could lie in the Asian region

You’ve probably already heard about the massive integration of cashless payment that’s taken place in China. Nationwide, consumers, merchants, banks and institutions can be found implementing e-wallets and cashless payment systems to cater to a demand for less paper money and more seamless mobile payments.

However, there is yet another region that's stepping up its digital payments game; Southeast Asia. When it comes to embracing the mobile economy, it has already outpaced China. This trend has been driven mostly by the rapid adoption of mobile wallets.

From FinTech firms and startups to banks, telecommunications companies and consumers themselves, there are so many players behind this growing movement. E-wallets are being equipped with so much more power than before, and other concepts like the robo-advisor, insurtech, microloans and digital remittance are all being integrated with the smartphone. Cross-border e-money usage can lure in adoption among travellers, provided the exchange rate is favourable and wallet size limit (the limit on the amount that can be deposited into an e-wallet) is set relatively higher (in the range of USD5,000).

Collaboration may be difficult to avoid

In order to truly witness a huge transition going forward (from cash usage to mobile payments), e-wallets should collaborate and form partnerships with the traditional banking infrastructure. Existing service providers aren't out of the game yet, and they bring the opportunity for e-wallets to extend their capabilities. Mobile wallet features could lean towards cross-border remittances and foreign exchange. A truly borderless payment shift could happen in the near future. However, these players should be willing to work together. One great example of collaboration can be found in the partnership between Valyou and Mutual Trust Bank (MTB). 

This collaboration offers a first-of-its-kind wallet-to-wallet remittance integration that lets migrant workers in Malaysia transfer money directly to bKash accounts in Bangladesh through an innovative Valyou Mobile Wallet app. The true power of digital payments via e-wallets can be unleashed by enabling a society that’s highly connected. Simple transactions like buying a coffee should have sophisticated networks of service providers and optimized components working seamlessly and in an instantaneous fashion.

A question unanswered

Even now, there are still plenty of questions about the digital wallet revolution that haven’t been answered as of yet. For instance, an aspect of digital payments and e-wallets that often gets overlooked can be found in the beneficiary side of things. Questions like; “what happens to the money in an e-wallet if a next-of-kin beneficiary is not nominated, or if they are unaware of the deceased’s e-wallet?”

There's no simple answer to questions like this, seeing that digital assets often come in a wide range of forms. With regards to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, beneficiary processes can be tricky upon death because cryptocurrencies are highly secure and encrypted by their nature. On the other hand, online bank accounts may be slightly easier to deal with depending on the service provider and the security measurements put in place.

This goes to show that as far as we’ve gotten with digital payments, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Benefits of Automated Workflow for Your Business

Ushering in a new era of growth, the world is currently amidst technological transformation that will fundamentally change the way we work and live. In order to stay relevant in today’s current market, companies will have to adopt new technologies, such as automated workflow to unearth new opportunities for their businesses. Automated workflow is a technology that automates the routing for a series of sequential steps involved in a business process.  Often, a business process involves human-to-human activities such as request review and approval, as well as system automation such as sending out notification messages and posting approved transactions to an integrated system.

Here are 5 benefits of automated workflow for your business.

1. Reducing turnaround time

One of the key challenges that business often encounter is the duration of delivery time. With automated workflow, it can reduce turnaround time. Approval cycle can be sped up with electronic and automated routing of e-forms and workflow task assignment in business processes. For example, approval form can be easily accessible from email and mobile application, making it more convenient for Managers and Senior Management to perform on-the-go decision making. Those in managerial level can focus more quality time on key managerial activities that help spur company's growth, instead of spending time on mundane data collection, reporting, and following-up on disjointed processes — which are better done by automation.

Turnaround time is also reduced from elimination of issues introduced by wrong routing of approval, which is often witnessed from a manual form routing process (whether through emails or physical documents). Not only that, automated workflow also improves efficiency. More automation in a workflow equals shorter delivery times, optimizing business operations while boosting productivity. 

2. Simplify business processes

The opportunity for business process re-engineering is made possible by improving business process flows. When opportunity to simplify business processes came knocking on the door, business processes that have been carried -out for years are possible to be fully optimized by automated workflow. For example, elimination of the “checker” role from a process as electronic form will have the capability to automatically enforce form input validation prior to a request being completely submitted. 

This applies to many other non-value-added tasks within a manual process, such as re-data entry, data cleanliness check and reporting through manual query. Besides, automated workflow can reduce data entry mistakes as it reduces the likelihood of human errors. For example, data entry that contains a value with a fixed set of options can be presented as a drop-down selection list or multiple-choice tick boxes. 

3. Cost optimization

When the business process has been digitized, cost optimization can be achieved. The automated workflow can reduce the use of paper in daily operational tasks. One of Innov8tif’s customers – a Multinational Company (MNC) in the manufacturing industry has reduced photocopier and printing costs by 75% simply by turning their purchase requisition request and approval process into an electronic workflow. Furthermore, business can optimize its operating expenditure on software system investment. The system redundancy can be reduced by creating one workflow that contains all departments’ processes.

For instance, human resources and procurement processes may be implemented in silos - placing staff records in the leave application and overtime records in HRMS, claim expenses in a cloud application and purchase requisition from another custom-built application. Each of these different processes may require a separate server and system maintenance cost. Additionally, the cost and overhead of interfacing between multiple systems can be reduced. When data resides in multiple sources, there will be a need to perform system integration on core and master data synchronization, as well as transaction posting. This adds another layer of complexity to the system architecture and thus, additional cost too. Imagine this, when there are more systems in silos, the need to manage user credentials and passwords across the board (through single-sign-on or single identity) also incurs additional operating expenditures.

4. Improving transparency

With automated workflow, approval cycles and audit trail of review will be digitally recorded, and it will send a notification email and reminder to both the approver and requester. Thus, a standard operation procedure (SOP) will be carried out without any bias. This empowers employees to be more accountable to any action performed in the system. Not only that, digital signatures can even achieve nonrepudiation. Automated workflow can avoid ‘unwritten’ rules from happening and preventing intentional by-pass. Traditionally, the business process that requires physical documents tends to be overlooked; but, with the automated workflow, it can decrease the risk of forging physical documents. The transparency in this situation can be found in user authentication that gradually improves the confidence of a person’s identity representation. For instance, when a person logs-in to a system, username and password validation is required as part of authentication process. This identification process can even be strengthen with 2-step authentication using biometrics or one-time PIN.

5. Improve employee productivity & efficiency 

The use of automated workflow can empower employees to manage their own time during the working hours. Manager and Senior Management don’t have to spend their time monitoring closely as every action and progress is digitally tracked. Thus, employee satisfaction can be increased, and employees have more time to upgrade their skills, experience while acquiring new knowledge. Occasionally, employees can give more value to the company. All in all, automated workflow allows better communication between other departments as the automated workflow their joint processes and to work together closely.
In conclusion, to foster industrial growth, businesses need to take a step ahead and digitize their business processes. In order to sustain a business, a business needs to modify the workforce changing their business strategy, boasting exciting prospects and streamlining their business for greater market share.

Monday, February 10, 2020

5 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

In today’s interconnected tech-driven industries, computer security has become a huge priority. It may have once been considered merely an afterthought for businesses and users but has quickly grown in prominence. 

Malicious attacks can cause massive devastation, compromising important parts of how systems have been built to run. According to a report issued by Javelin Strategy and Research, 14.4 million people fell victim to identity fraud in 2018 alone! 

If you haven’t experienced it for yourself, you might know someone who’s fallen victim to it. Even Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, was not exempted from such a risk, with hackers using a SIM-swap technique to infiltrate his phone. Cybercriminals have targeted personal bank accounts, as well as company databases. It’s time that you try and stop yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft. Here are a few simple steps you can take in order to stay protected.

1. Practice Basic Online Safety

If you’re accessing a public computer, don’t shop online or fill in details containing sensitive information. This goes for devices with unsecured Wi-Fi too. Hackers may be lurking just beneath the surface, between the user and the unstable internet connection. Passwords, credit card information and sensitive identifiers can be stolen from a user as the data gets sent out.

2. Update Your Security Software

If you are using your home or office machine, consistently update your security software. Firewalls and antivirus systems make up the first line of defence when it comes to digital crime. If you are surfing online or if you’re an avid online shopper, only visit reputable retail sites. Phishers and identity thieves often set up fake sites that prompt you to key in your personal details. Sometimes, these sites can even resemble real and reputable sites. Check that the “https” line is included before the URL (just in case). Also, be careful when downloading apps and files. Check that they’re from reputable sources because hackers might rig them with malware that infects your device and let them gain access to it.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

7 Digital Transformation Trends that could Catch Fire in 2020

In an increasingly technology-driven world, digital transformation is likely to become even more commonplace. Repetitive terms like edge computing, cloud, augmented reality and IoT are probably here to stay, but these developments could merge with even more prominent aspects of the business landscape. 

Several core technological services appear set to dominate future discussions, making an impact on the fundamentals as we continue this journey of digital transformation. The modernization of legacy systems and even more digitization across the board appear set to take centre stage this year.

Here are a few digital transformation trends that could take off substantially in 2020.

1. The Arrival of 5G

5G has been a long time coming, and many consider this is the year of 5G. Telecommunications giants such as Verizon, Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, AT&T and Qualcomm are working diligently to try and make sure global 5G deployments stay on track. Meanwhile, handset manufacturers are already releasing 5G phones. Malaysia has also witnessed the launch of the 5G Demonstration Project (5GDP) in Langkawi on 19th Jan 2020.

Aside from faster broadband (5G could be up to 100X faster than 4G at its theoretical top-speed) and stronger mobile networks, the proliferation of 5G also includes accelerated advancements in smart systems. Vehicles, manufacturing industries, cities and industrial operations could become highly IoT-intensive and connected. 5G is paving the way for true digital transformation (the likes of which we are likely to have never witnessed before).

Despite concerns around the possible environmental consequences of deploying 5G, industry leaders and corporations seem persistent about making 5G more widely available. In August 2019, data showed that only four months after local carriers commercially launched the technology, the number of 5G subscribers in South Korea hit the 2 million mark.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the rise of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

If you haven’t noticed, the adoption of AI has gained considerable traction recently and the mainstream media has homed in on its potentially transformative capabilities. AI is already around us, in many products that we use. Innov8tif is using image processing and deep learning techniques to automate cognitive intelligence in identity verification. Business decision making can also be assisted with smart data-driven suggestions or predictive analytics, as part of an automated workflow, realizing the future of “AI as co-worker”.

Presently, RPA is one of the major innovations that can be found out there. RPA uses bots to execute small, repetitive tasks and transactions with more precision and significantly fewer errors compared to their human counterparts.

Tremendous improvements to efficiency and workflow have been made as a by-product of using RPA.

It is estimated up to 40% of enterprises are keen on adopting some form of RPA in response to increasing automation to try to keep ahead of the competition.

The RPA market could reach nearly $4 billion by 2025.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Innov8tif Inks MoU with Securemetric to Integrate Innov8tif’s EMAS eKYC and Workflow Solution with Securemetric’s Centagate Cloud and Signing Cloud

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 16 January 2020 - Innov8tif Solutions Sdn Bhd (“Innov8tif”) has entered a strategic partnership with Securemetric Berhad (“Securemetric”) to develop technological solutions by utilizing a cross-technology innovation between the two parties.  

With the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”), both parties agreed to establish and enhance the collaboration to work together to achieve mutual sharing of digital expertise and innovation; in which Innov8tif’s solutions will be integrated to Securemetric’s Centagate Cloud and Signing Cloud to enable electronic know-your-customer (“e-KYC”) and workflow digitisation capabilities. At the same time, Innov8tif will enable the support of strong authentication through Securemetric’s Centagate Cloud for their application access control and offer it as an optional feature to their customers. 

This MoU was signed by Mr. George Lee, Chief of Executive Officer for Innov8tif and Mr. Edward Law, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director for Securemetric. The MoU signing ceremony took place in Aloft Hotel Kuala Lumpur during the official launch of Securementric’s Centagate Cloud.

George Lee said “The MoU is a strategic alliance – we hope this collaboration can enhance and strengthen our working relationship with the pioneer in information security technology industry. There are vast amounts of collaboration and advanced technology transfer possibilities between the two companies. We are delighted for this partnership and look forward to the prospect of further developing our partnership in the future”.