I attended FinovateSpring 2013 last week to get a preview of new products from digital technology vendors for financial services. For those of you that have not been to Finovate, it’s a little like innovation speed dating — where 72 vendors have 7 minutes to win the hearts of the audience to secure the “Best of Show” Award. At last year’s conference, a few new topics emerged: Personal Financial Management (PFM), payments, rewards, coupons, and mobile banking services for Prepaid Visa customers. This year the focus was still on PFM and payments, but one new topic hit the stage full force: authentication, which is this year’s new black. Sexy, I know!

While there were plenty of interesting and innovative demonstrations, Forrester attended the conference to identify trends and solutions relevant for our retail digital financial services clients. My "Best of Show" picks included innovative solutions that helped our clients either deliver on a customer need or solve a core customer problem in the retail banking realm. At this year’s conference, I noticed that:

  • Big data and PFM got married . . . And had a little MoneyDesktop. MoneyDesktop, the best in show winner, debuted their Insight and Target platforms — providing financial institutions the ability to create and send targeted marketing content and product offerings based on customer relevancy.
  • Search no longer sucks. IntelliResponse has stepped up to deliver a solution that eliminates the tedious and, often times, ineffective internal search. IntelliReponse’s Virtual Agent allows customers to ask a simple question in natural conversational language and provides one answer to the question.
  • The love affair with the smartphone camera is in full force. Kofax showed the camera some love by demonstrating how it can be used in capturing content and data from documents to support the account open and onboarding process, primarily by eliminating data entry steps.
  • Direct mail clutter is a way of the past. Wallaby delivers real-time credit card recommendations to help customers determine the right collection of credit cards that will earn them the most rewards with the lowest interest rates.  
  • Live mobile help does exist. NICE Systems’ Mobile Reach platform injects much needed live help into the mobile channel converging mobile self-service and live assisted service to engage, connect, and collaborate with customers who need live assistance.

Although MoneyDesktop is the only best in show Finovate winner on my list, I want to take a moment to congratulate all the best in show winners: FamZoo, LendUp, MoneyDesktop, PayNearMe, and TipRanks. There were some spectacular demonstrations this year! Thanks to Finovate for another great show!