If your position as a financial institute is that using standardized APIs facilitates data exchange between your core banking system and a multitude of FinTech applications (likely the same your competitors use) and that this is synonymous to Open Banking, then you are fine. After all, it’s what your peers are doing as well, so it can’t be wrong, right? Unfortunately, this is not the full story. The forthcoming developments will make this position a difficult one to defend in terms of attracting prospects and positioning yourself as a bank in the ecosystem of your target customers.
The relevant environment is subject to fundamental change
According to the Swiss Federal Government’s report Digital Finance: Areas of action 2022+, a paradigm shift towards data ownership by end customers and new offerings based on data access is seen as a desirable goal that has to be reached. This new framework – undoubtedly also facilitated by standardized APIs – will induce new or existing players with a clear vision and business model to position themselves. In this case, being among the first movers could mean gaining a competitive advantage, as current models are going to be less effective in the changing setting. True: The velocity of this transformation process is difficult to assess. Nonetheless, this is the time to get ready and go into position. What will be left for the smart followers – not to mention the late adopters – remains to be seen.
Existing digital banking services are by large seen as substitutable commodities, certainly in a landscape where the average customer already sources services from different banking relationships. If you are determined to hold your ground in the future, then there is probably no way around some key elements of success, among others:
- Be clear about your own key competences and how they are reflected in your products and services
- Be able to generate and capture customer data
- Empower yourself with the appropriate technological solution and know-how allowing you to thrive on the intelligent and productive use of that data
In the future, winning business models of financial institutes will significantly rely on personalized offerings based on data and tailored business value. This future is already here. But how can you be part of that?
Moving from conclusion to action
If in your strategic considerations you assume (and we think rightly so) that standard APIs are just a first step towards a new paradigm, then consequently you face another set of crucial questions:
- Which conditions will change and how?
- How can you leverage your USP to stay or to become relevant in the new market structures?
- Do you need new services to satisfy future expectations? Do you need to develop new competencies?
- If you wanted to adapt your business model, how would you do it?
- Do your IT systems allow you to do it at all? Are your suppliers ready to provide you with the needed changes?
- Or do you spend the major part of your IT budget on maintenance of legacy structures reflecting models and processes introduced more than twenty years ago? With not enough left to invest in the IT needed to mirror your future-proof strategy and business model?
Pull (and nudge) vs. pure push
In future settings, trust in combination with identity and data management could become the new linking pins that will drive associated classical bank accounts in a perfect co-existence. Assuming the conclusion holds that in an increasingly client-centric world being sourced into the customers’ ecosystems is a winning strategy. What derives from this is the need to be attractive and present in the everyday life situations and journeys of customers with valuable services. More precisely: being present with relevant products and services e.g. right at that moment when the customer needs them, without them having to start a research process or a heavy-weight e-banking solution. The closer you are to the customer, the bigger your chances to close the deal. This «pipes and trigger» model relies not only on data sharing and trust, but also on IT systems that support such initiatives and on operating models with the needed flexibility, extensibility – secured by state-of-the-art technology.
Give yourself the means to thrive in the data-driven market
At Adnovum we see our mission in supporting our clients in creating the digital twin of their strategy through engineered software solutions. While we are already conceiving the IT architecture of future banking systems, we are at the same time your partner in the transformation process providing client- and competence-oriented as well as customizable and collaborative solutions that help you respond to above mentioned questions. We help our clients to get back into the driver’s seat when it comes to achieving their business goals in a tailored build-sustain-buy approach. The key is to combine new core elements with still valuable applications and best-of-breed commodities to achieve a strategy-oriented solution.