In previous postings I discussed four significant technology trends identified by Erik Peterson: Big Data and Supercomputing, Nanotechnology, Robotics and the Results of the Human Genome Project. I also analyzed innovations coming from these four trends using a framework provided by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen. The framework suggests that different types of innovations in each of these four areas may have a different effect on jobs. “Empowering Innovations” or “Sustaining Innovations” create or sustain growth in jobs. On the other hand “Efficiency Innovations” lead to the loss of jobs. However, that efficiency often frees up capital for future deployment in job-generating growth.
The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) has identified clusters of excellence in the State, “Where Georgia Leads.” http://www.wheregeorgialeads.com/About/ These clusters include Financial Technology (FinTech), Information Security, Communication Services, Logistics and Healthcare Information Technology. FinTech is one of the most successful clusters in Georgia. FinTech has benefited from the growth of Big Data. According to TAG, “Globally, over 135 billion payment card transactions paid for $2.3 trillion of consumer and commercial purchases in 2011.” Massive, sophisticated data capabilities are required to process the number of credit card transactions.
I wish I had attended the seminar on big data earlier this year, sponsored by the FinTech Society of TAG. At the seminar, “executives from First Data, SunTrust, TSYS and FICO shared their insights on how expanding the scope of their data analysis to include Big Data can help them understand their customers better, prevent fraud and build better product strategies.” http://tagthink.com/latest/first-data-suntrust-tsys-and-fico-discuss-why-big-data-increasingly-important-in-their-corporate-strategies.html
Although I missed that seminar, I did attend last week’s FinTech GA 2012 symposium, also sponsored by TAG’s FinTech Society. www.tagonline.org/TAG-FinTech-Georgia-2012.php. Over 300 people attended the event, which highlighted the strength and breadth of Georgia’s FinTech industry. Event honoree Paul Garcia, the Chairman and CEO of Global Payments, referred to Georgia as “Payment Valley.” The FinTech Society provided me with the following statistics, which support that nickname and demonstrate how powerful the FinTech technology cluster is in Georgia:
- More than 85 billion [of the 135 billion] credit card transactions passed through the global networks of Georgia FinTech organizations.
- Numbering over 70 companies, the impact of the Georgia FinTech community can be seen across the globe www.wheregeorgialeads.com/fintech/
- Georgia FinTech organizations employ more than 25,000 professionals in Georgia and over 105,000 globally.
- Revenue generated by the Georgia-based FinTech organizations exceed $22 billion annually.
- The nine publically held organizations headquartered in Georgia have a combined market capitalization that exceeds $21 billion.
- Merchants supported by payment systems organizations number in the millions globally.
Although I haven’t applied a rigorous “Christensen” analysis of the FinTech sector in Georgia, the employment numbers suggest that, at least in Georgia, innovations in this sector are either Empowering Innovations or Sustaining Innovations that create or perpetuate jobs. From a national or global perspective, even if some of the innovations lead to efficiency gains (but perhaps not job growth), it’s hard to imagine how global commerce could continue without the leadership of Georgia FinTech companies.
Attendees at the symposium came away with a deeper and better understanding of the industry and Georgia’s leadership role. Chair Amelia Fox, SVP of Strategic Planning at Elavon, said: “The symposium represented deep and rich content covering everything from the point-of-sale, conversations on the increase of deals in the industry and Google’s position on expanding the mobile payments landscape.” Ms. Fox went on to describe the range of companies that participated: “Delta, Home Depot and Heidelberg U.S.A. discussed how they are addressing the changing payment needs of their customers. Also, we had 18 companies in the exhibitor showcase — from start-ups to large companies that are doing innovating things in FinTech and payments.” I personally enjoyed the presentations by Frank Young of Google Wallet and Steve Hufford and his Raymond James colleagues, who analyzed the FinTech industry.
Hats off to TAG’s FinTech Society and the symposium chair, Amelia Fox, for showcasing one of Georgia’s world-renowned technology clusters.