CFP: Technologies 4.0: Understanding the evolution of ICT and its role for business development
Over the last ten years the evolution of information and communication technology (ICT) has radically changed people’s lifestyles and firms’ activities, leading to a condition where financial, economic and even social inclusion is strictly influenced by attitudes towards technological change. However, the consequences of the digital(r)evolutionhave not as yet completely unfolded. For example, it is extremely difficult, at this stage, to predict all the effects of the application of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the management of big data.
In particular, the financial industry, which has always been an early adopter of new technology, is dramatically changing due to many factors.On the demand side, demographic aspects play a key role; specifically, the rise in demand for high-tech financial services, such as retail payments, wealth management, consulting, etc., is positively associated with the growth of a new generation, often called ‘digital natives’. On the supply side, the rise of high-performance computers and cloud computing have permitted management and treatment of big data as well as data sharing. Moreover, from a different perspective, ICT progress has helped alleviate asymmetry information issues between lenders and borrowers by adopting the role of ‘creator of information’. This role has in turn contributed to the development of P2P lending, which is often viewed by less lucrative firms as a good alternative to bank loans. By its very nature, P2P platforms differ from banks in the way they assess credit risk. Through the use of cutting-edge FinTech systems, and the ability to assess large volumes of data, P2P lenders can change their credit scoring algorithms daily – major banks typically do this only on a monthly or quarterly basis. In other words, P2P has the ability to quickly respond to changing market conditions. A related example is the rise ofrobo-adviceservices where clients just need to provide their ID number to a computer, which, using artificial intelligence, selects the best set of investments in line with the client’s risk aversion and liquidity preferences. At this stage it is also worth mentioning cryptocurrencies that challenge some of the more traditional banking business models and are seen as the last frontier of FinTech.
Inevitably, the digital revolution raises a number of questions on the outlook for the traditional financing system. Indeed, it is still unclear how FinTech will affect the future of banks and, in turn, influence banks' supply of services, profitability and market power. However, there are two possible scenarios for the future. On the one hand, these platforms may make the technology more readily available to intermediaries, which, in turn, could give rise to not only new forms of financial intermediation that satisfy customers, but also new styles of alliance among lenders. On the other hand, FinTech evolution may make room for new entrants, i.e. high-tech platforms, that could compete with traditional intermediaries. With the worst-case scenario being the rise of big corporations operating in the information technology industry by undermining the survivorship of traditional intermediaries. An extraordinary example of this possible scenario is Amazon Lending which aims to provide loans to SMEs.
Other important issues associated with the digital revolution relate to how best to manage the cyber risk, address regulatory uncertainty and promote a more innovation-focused culture.
This special issue aims to contribute to the literature on ICT development by welcoming both qualitative and quantitative papers, from all finance and management disciplines, that examine the interplay between 'Technology 4.0' and business growth. In particular, we would like to encourage researchers to think 'out of the box' and provide material that not only clearly documents the phenomenon analysed but also provides groundbreaking results.
Specifically, this special issue of theEuropean Management Journalwelcomes papers based on empirical studies, conceptual studies, case studies, surveys or panel data that explore, but are not limited to, any of the following:
Crowdfunding for business development: performance and innovation
Technical limitations and the usability of blockchain technologies
Cryptocurrencies: factors attracting customers, companies and investors
Artificial intelligence and machine learning era: which is the future for assets under management? The case of hedge funds and trading online
New venture creation and the role of venture capital
Traditional credit channels and the rise of FinTech: advantages and disadvantages
Managing non-performing loans (NPLs): contribution of Risk-Tech
Trade-off between ICT development and big data generation: defence instruments and the risk of fraud
Evolution of online and mobile payment systems: impact for business growth
Smart cities evolution and the role of ICT: costs and benefits
Contribution of ICT to healthcare and high-tech industry innovation
ICT development and the need for regulation changing
Internet of things (IoT): driven opportunities for SMEs and large firms.