3 tech trends disrupting the Australian superannuation industry

13 Sep, 2022

It’s no secret that as a whole, the superannuation industry has not rushed into major digital transformation works – but as super funds find themselves in a period of increased consolidation, greater engagement from customers, changing regulations and social investment pressures, the time has come to embrace digitalisation. 

But where – other than the commercial banking sector – should superannuation organisations look when navigating their next technical steps? Read on to explore three tech trends that are changing the pace of the super industry. 

1. Embracing true digital transformation

While all Australian super funds have been digitising more and more of their processes as the technology has become accessible to them, most have not undergone true digital transformation initiatives. And while digitisation is a valuable step in the right direction, many superannuation organisations aren’t yet reaping the full benefits technology can offer their customers, staff and bottom line

So what’s the difference? Digitisation modernises existing processes and workflows – even in a significant body of work, it’s ultimately an evolution of the same thing. Transformation, on the other hand, reimagines the way tasks are achieved for a positive effect on people, processes and technology. 

To date, the trend in Australian superannuation has been to prioritise the customer-side of technological upgrades – online experiences – without giving the internal aspects of the organisation much of a look in. It’s not uncommon, for example, for a fund to have digital forms for their customers to use… which are then printed by your staff and scanned into a second platform. It seems more modern to the customer, but remains time consuming (and open to errors) for employees.  

To gain more benefit from technological projects, superannuation organisations should look to automate data management and ensure their core registry is suitably interconnected with ancillary systems.

2. Utilising AI to supercharge customer experience

As super funds move further and further away from their legacy of largely disengaged members (historically disinterested until they approached retirement age), they need to think carefully about how to provide the great digital experience that this cohort of informed, engaged consumers expect.

A chatbot that utilises artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can be a highly effective way for Australian superannuation organisations to take their customer service to the next level – and ease the load on your customer service team’s valuable time. AustralianSuper states that their chatbot acts as a triage service; approximately eight out of ten queries are successfully answered by the service, where previously all queries would have required telephone assistance. This 80% reduction of pressure on call centre staff then allows them to focus on more complex questions and add greater value. 

Likewise, Rest Super notes that a chatbot offers a comfortable solution for customers who have lower financial literacy, who might feel embarrassed to ask customer service questions they “should” know.

3. Overcoming technical and security debt with composable architecture

Technical and security debt – and the work required to overcome it – is an undeniable challenge facing all kinds of financial institutions in Australia today. When your organisation has been building onto (and around) the same core platform for two or more decades without a major architectural refresh, it is vulnerable to security risks and technical limitations. Where these technical limitations affect your organisation’s ability to meet new industry regulations should be your greatest point of concern – and almost two thirds of Australian superannuation funds say new regulation requirements are the biggest challenge of the next three years

When designing a new solution, it is imperative to account for the rapidly changing nature of both technological solutions and the superannuation industry. Composable and interoperable designs will ensure the longevity of your investment and help to avoid the position of major technical debt again in the future. 

Replacing a core registry platform is by no means an insignificant task, but having experienced solution architects working with you to design a roadmap that is actually executable makes all the difference. Speak to our solution architects at 9Yards to see how we can help your organisation keep up with the latest superannuation, banking and finance standards.