Tough economic conditions across the globe have led many to believe that downturns are set to continue. In the face of significant uncertainty, financial services technology company FIS explores how corporate executives across industries are reacting and innovating in new research.
The new FIS Global Innovation Report asked c-suite and senior executives in financial services (banks, insurers, capital markets firms, and fintechs) and non-financial businesses (technology, retail, energy and utilities, healthcare, and others) globally about their key areas of innovation over the next 12 months.
Almost half of business leaders and executives in the UK revealed that they face more risk now than in the past (47 per cent), as financial risk emerged as the top concern for 62 per cent of respondents, followed by strategic risk (50 per cent). Leaders in retail and fintech appear especially concerned about risk, with 80 per cent of UK retailers and 70 per cent of UK fintech executives left worried.
Despite increased economic uncertainty and risk, the majority of business leaders have refused to sit still. Fifty-two per cent of leaders in the UK are addressing risk by assigning existing staff to the problem, while 50 per cent are actively adopting new technology.
In fact, many leaders in the UK have already realised the potential of generative AI to alleviate concerns, with 60 per cent of those who have already adopted the technology explaining that they plan to increase spending on it within the next 12 months, FIS has revealed.
Forty-eight per cent of respondents also identified increasing competitiveness as the top reason for increasing generative AI spending.
Ai “could be a game-changer for the UK economy”
Overall, around 38 per cent of UK executives believe innovation plays a very significant role in managing risk, according to the FIS research; pointing to why AI adoption and spending has increased amidst increased financial pressures for businesses.
In fact, 74 per cent of UK leaders revealed they see AI as a way to mitigate risk, with 69 per cent feeling the same way about generative AI.
Silvia Mensdorff-Pouilly, SVP of banking and payments in Europe at FIS, discussed the findings. She explained: “UK business leaders are understandably unsettled by the risks posed by the current challenging economic climate, as supply chain disruptions, high-interest rates, and skills shortages have piled pressure on to their performance.
“But there are signs of optimism as executives eye emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, to boost productivity. While there has been much hype around generative AI in particular, the Global Innovation Report indicates it has real practical benefits, with strong consensus among executives that it will increase their competitiveness.
“If we harness the technology appropriately, it could be a game-changer for the UK economy, which has been grappling with low growth.”
This sentiment appears to have impacted organisations at all levels of the UK. March 2023 saw Chancellor Jeremy Hunt unveil a new AI sandbox, hoping to accelerate research into AI, with millions of pounds in prize money also available for participants across the next decade.