Synechron reveals financial firms prioritise cloud over AI

In the midst of AI technology dominating the headlines, Synechron suggests that decision makers are taking their time to explore its full potential and risks
A survey conducted by Synechron reveals that cloud and AI are key business priorities for financial service firms in 2024, highlighting new tech priorities

Synechron, a leading global digital transformation consulting firm, has unveiled research from its first Strategic Technologies Survey that points to some notable technology trends.

The survey includes Chief Technology Officers, Chief Information Officers, and Chief Data Officers from the global financial services industry. The survey focused on tech priorities and approach to investment in technology provision.

Surprisingly, findings highlight that cloud priorities are dominant to AI, contrasting to similar sector surveys reporting that generative AI continues to be a top priority for enterprises. From this, it is clear that business leaders are approaching new AI tools with caution.

Cloud computing dominates, whilst AI anxieties remain

Some emerging trends were identifiable from the survey results, including that cloud computing priorities were cited as the most important to those surveyed. 42% of respondents identified cloud computing and application modernisation as a top priority, with almost half (46%) at the stage where they were implementing solutions.

An additional 18% were even further ahead having reached the stage where they were optimising their cloud technology.

On the other hand, the survey highlights that business professionals are being cautious when it comes to AI adoption. In the midst of AI technology dominating the headlines, Synechron suggests that decision makers are taking their time to explore its full potential and risks.

In the wake of the AI Safety Summit in the UK, global leaders were keen to speak about the transformative potential of the technology across key industries. Indeed, if AI is harnessed safely, it has the potential to positively revolutionise business. However, those at the summit were also very clear that AI does present new risks and fears to business workforces. 

Of those surveyed by Synechron, 58% said they were still exploring the ways in which AI could transform their business, compared to just 6% stating they were at the stage where they were optimising post-rollout. As the different applications for AI are still being mapped out, surprisingly only one in 10 picked AI as a business priority for 2024.

On the other hand, cybersecurity and data intelligence and analytics were ranked as equal priorities in the survey, each with a 24% share of respondents. The company states that this highlights the increasing importance of data security in a rapidly changing digital age and how technology is vital when it comes to protecting valuable information and data.

The ever-increasing value of data

The findings also confirm a trend towards data-driven decision making and the monetisation of data assets.

Nearly one in four firms (24%) are exploring methods of data monetisation – defined as creating value from a firm’s data assets, with another 64% either developing or already implementing a programme in this area. 

As data-driven strategies continue to transform and redefine entire industries, the value of data has soared, according to Synechron. In particular, North American financial services firms are ahead of their global counterparts in this area, with only 8% in the United States at the exploration phase compared to 16% in Europe and the rest of the world.

David Sewell, Chief Technology Officer at Synechron, says: “The results of our survey were surprising at times, given what we have been hearing on the ground from clients and contacts across the global financial services industry. Despite 85% of respondents claiming budgets were maintained or increasing, anecdotally we have observed some pressure on client budgets towards the end of 2023.”

He continues: “Senior tech staff attitudes towards AI were also notably cautious - although the excitement and buzz around this technology continues at pace across the industry. Currently, customer service is the main area where businesses can see AI making an impact, particularly in Europe. 

“With AI and GenAI solutions advancing at an increasing velocity, we expect to see adoption grow significantly in a relatively short space of time.”

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