Digital has disrupted and reshaped every conceivable industry. And while banking too has been disrupted, banks still struggle to find firm footing in this fluid technological age. Unlike travel or shopping or transportation, they have yet to slip into a low-friction groove of progress. This has less to do with adopting new technology than it does with how that tech is leveraged. The battlefield, therefore, is not technology itself, but one of better customer experience.
To remain relevant and desirable in the face of conflicting priorities that this generates, banks will need more than piecemeal, reactive technological application. It calls for an exercise in reimagination. This whitepaper examines the forces that buffet and define priorities in this industry, and attempts to leapfrog this phase of struggle and reimagine banking along eight vital aspects – to not just leverage the digital era, but to prime itself for a post-digital era as well, to make banking truly contextual.
At the Heart of Disruption
Consider the disruption that these four examples represent. The common theme here is not digital, or even technology. Before we embark on a dissection of digital technology and its implications on banking and FinTech, it is important to establish that disruption is not defined by technology. If Ikea disassembled the conventional dimensions of furniture, Tesla moved the conversation away from fuel efficiency to energy. The iPhone did not so much as fill an existing need as tap into unstated desires. And Uber did away with the concept of ownership from the flowchart of providing services. At the heart of disruption, therefore, is imagination.
Remember ‘travel agent’? Hotels before AirBnB? Shopping before Amazon or cabbing before Uber? It is not just the tech-led way in which these innovations occurred, but the speed and comprehensive nature of the change which make them true disruptions. The bridge between innovation and large-scale adoption was seamless, almost instant. The arrival of the smartphone marked the beginning of an explosion of digital disruption. People fit in and manage more aspects of their lives into a six-inch screen than was ever thought possible. The iPhone emerged as the poster child for this era of digital fulfilment. But there’s more, isn’t there? One can argue that the bigger ‘i’nnovation is the app store, not the phone itself. Similarly, for Uber or AirBnB and other digital aggregators, the true innovation is in being able to tap into other ecosystems, say location services or payment gateways.
“ Imagination is the source of disruption. Technology makes it feasible, and an ecosystem of connectivity makes it viable as a business”.
This whitepaper traces the dynamics of disruption in emerging frontiers like experiential banking, cloud, open banking and the marketplace economy. Acknowledging that a purely tech-oriented approach will make for a stunted strategy, it explores how banking can be reimagined along eight key aspects.
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About the Author
The Chief Strategy Advisor at Intellect Design Arena, Banesh Prabhu is a Fintech services veteran and pioneer in Technology & Operations Solutions Management. He has developed and implemented global strategies for executing digital capabilities and servicing of clients. He has managed senior global responsibilities in Operations, Distribution and Technology for over 30 years, of which 23 years were in Citibank, where he was responsible for servicing clients in 55+ international markets. During these years, he pioneered the creation of several global Centres of Excellence for Operations & Technology that included implementing Digital Services.
In his last role, Banesh was a member of the Executive Committee and Head of the Technology & Operations Group for one of Thailand’s leading Universal banking groups, Siam Commercial Bank. He has been and is presently an investor in Fintech start-ups, a Board Director, and a Senior Advisor with Boston Consulting Group (BCG).