The foreign option is not always a priori better: in Europe, an attempt to pay for a purchase with a smartphone can still cause confusion, and no one thought about a corporate online psychologist. At this time in Russia, even the most conservative spheres are already moving into the digital world, gradually replacing outdated technologies. Representatives of IT companies from the field of banking, car sharing, car service, employee support and HR told why technologies in Russia are more integrated into business and everyday life.
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Online support for employees
The industry of employee support programs (PPP) was formed first in the States, and then in Europe back in the 60s and 80s. Then there were no modern technological solutions – consultations of a psychologist and other helping specialists were received only by phone. And once the product is established, innovation comes at a much slower pace than if it was built from scratch. This is exactly what happened with the teaching staff in Russia – an industry for no more than ten years, of which only the last two or three years have been actively developing. From the very beginning, teaching staff have focused on the technological component.
In addition, teaching staff in Russia is more in demand among young and middle-aged employees, and young people are more likely to choose a technological product. In foreign countries, the main audience is older – this also affects the penetration of IT solutions.
Most of the PPP providers we know in developed economies do not have a mobile application and online consulting, including through a chat with a specialist. Consultations are held by phone or face-to-face, which is a barrier to using the service for many people. The platform solution selects a specialist in a personalized way, because some personal issues are easier to discuss with a person of your age and gender. Plus there is an opportunity to get acquainted with the ratings and reviews of other users, look at the diplomas and specialization of the consultant. This is very important, since in Russia there is still no standardization of such services – this is the main difference between our country.
At the same time, one should not think that it will be much easier for Russian companies to enter foreign markets. In B2B sales, and PPP is B2B, the human factor is still strong, the notorious connections, although the importance of this factor is decreasing. Comparable foreign companies are giants with billions in valuations and many years of experience.
The most difficult task at starting a business is not technology, but personnel and organizational decisions. IT professionals need to be recruited and retained – a daunting task both at startup and now. A positive external factor is the development of society. Over time, going to a psychologist or psychotherapist will feel as normal as consulting a doctor about a cold or more serious ailment. The market will grow, and with it the competition. Foreign providers will come, and Russian ones will go to their countries. Our quality of life will improve.
The foreign banking sector is extremely conservative, including in the regulatory sphere. Compared to Europe and the United States, fintech in our country is developing rapidly. In Russia, due to more loyal legislation in our area, it is possible to develop and introduce new technological products literally in two to three months, while abroad it takes years. It turns out that technologies there may become outdated even before they reach the client.
In terms of the speed of integration of technological innovations, Russia is significantly ahead of the United States and Europe. Russian fintech keeps pace with global technological trends – biometric identification, remote account opening, transactions and notifications in real time, online applications for loan products – in Europe, an attempt to pay for a purchase with a smartphone can still cause confusion. In the United States, there is still a shift from magnetic stripe cards to safer chip-based PIN cards, which have been in use in Europe for over 10 years.
Most European banks are reluctant to invest in digital technologies: in 2014, for 90% of market participants, digitalization costs were less than 0.5% of all costs. At the same time, studies show that 57% of customers would prefer to open an account online, but only three out of five people manage to do this.
Only 8% of successful applications for opening an account are processed on mobile devices from start to finish, without visiting a branch. For comparison, in Russia now almost all routine banking operations can be carried out online – independently or with the help of the customer service.
The digital lag of the foreign financial services market is connected not with a lack of access to technology, but with the difficulties of introducing new services. This process is hampered by specific regulatory standards and the lack of a strong technological base in banks, since the IT direction has not been considered a priority by the conservative banking industry for a long time. When entering the foreign market, Russian fintech projects will face the same legislative difficulties that prevent foreign banks from introducing technological innovations.
At the same time, interesting digital projects appear in foreign markets: for example, the young Swedish digital project Toponomy issued the world’s first credit card that allows the user to monitor his contribution to CO2 emissions and compensate for it by investing in environmental projects.
Over the past five years, the number of banks working with entrepreneurs has increased dramatically. If throughout the history of the Russian Internet, the most expensive leads in finance have always belonged to the category of consumer loans, then in 2019 the most expensive cost of a lead is already in the category of cash settlement services (settlement and cash services – “Hi-tech”).
Recently, all banks have been striving to build an ecosystem of services and offer the client a maximum of non-banking options. For example, we strive to optimize the work of the business and offer entrepreneurs to register an individual entrepreneur and LLC for free, automate the work of the accounting and HR department, facilitate relations with government agencies, accompany work with foreign partners from searching and checking to preparing certificates and accounting for duties. Banks will continue to strive to meet all the needs of the client, expanding the capabilities of the ecosystem and connecting more and more partners.