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Technology Outlook: Mark Forbis

Jack Henry & Associates Inc. Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President

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Mark Forbis is over technology at Monett-based Jack Henry & Associates Inc. (Nasdaq: JKHY), a national player in the booming financial technology industry with more than 9,000 banking and financial customers.

2019 Projection: Businesses will better leverage the data they collect. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will become more relevant than ever.

SBJ: What’s the current state of the tech industry?
Forbis: It’s all about the pace of change – whether you think about it from a Moore’s law perspective or whether you think about it from just the investment in technology. Because software is a part of everything now, Moore’s law has a much bigger effect on things – essentially the doubling of power and capacity in 12 to 18 months. You now have to apply that to everything.

SBJ: We’ve seen tech trend toward making peoples’ lives better and easier. What can we expect in 2019?
Forbis: Payments is obviously a big focus for us. We’re continuing to evolve with real-time payments – so fast movement of money.

AI and machine learning, I would just categorize that as better using the data we have. As the evolution of tools and technology continue, we could do a better job with the data.

SBJ: In 2018, we had the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal and several other data breaches. Is security more of a concern?
Forbis: It’s a constant battle. Unfortunately, the fraudsters are pretty weaponized. There’s fraud as a service out there; there’s tool kits (for fraudulent activity). With the constant evolution toward more connected devices, more connectivity, more “I want to do what I want to do, where I want to do it, when I want to do it,” which means I’m either connected to Wi-Fi or I’m connected to cellular. Everybody in that chain of custody around your data has to be vigilant. The good news is there’s better biometric capabilities now, with facial recognition that’s becoming more mainstream.

SBJ: Do you see 2019 as the year when businesses work to better utilize data?
Forbis: It’s on its way. It’s continuing and with advances in hardware and software, you can see AI becoming a little bit more mainstream, (machine learning) becoming more mainstream. Better leveraging of the data, leveraging AI, leveraging ML, leads to bots and robotic process automations. Those are all big movements, so there’s a lot of focus in that area. Really that dovetails back to us. How do we make digital more personal? How do we augment the human experience through leveraging the data? That’s still the holy grail for everybody: We’ve gone through the data; are we really truly leveraging it and making good data-driven decisions?

SBJ: What disruptive technology is next?
Forbis: Data and AI and ML are starting to turn into being disruptive because of the fact that they’re more demonetized. They’re not commoditized yet, but they probably will get there eventually. That’s going to be disruptive from the standpoint of how we think about it. One thing that’s a little bit newer for us, because of the digital transformation and digital pressure, we’re seeing financial institutions create digital specific brands. Maybe a bank in Springfield wants to have (a Missouri State University)-branded account and a card and app. They want to brand it or market it to a segment or market it to a specific market focus, whether it’s high net worth or college students at MSU or college students at Drury.

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