• Tech & Trends

How one holistic, trusted ecosystem can power good

By Paul Lewis

It’s a sign of the times that banks and other financial services organizations today appear to be trusted over government organizations, writes Paul Lewis, Global CTO at Hitachi Vantara.
They’re seen as robust and independent guardians of sensitive personal data, earning the public’s confidence by securely keeping our most valuable financial secrets, safeguarding what’s private and remaining flexible in tough times such as during the current Covid-19 crisis.

In this last of my four-part blog series, I look at how this reality means that banks are starting to become a focus for innovation beyond their traditional service sphere. The secret to their success is thinking holistically about how they evolve their underlying digital ecosystems.

I hope you have found the series thought-provoking and of practical strategic use as you build your banks future for the greater good. The expert Hitachi Vantara team is always here if you’d like to further explore any of the challenges or strategies I’ve discussed.

While governments come and go with the will of the people, banks tend to be more solid and constant in our lives. They are a trusted source of information and wealthy enough to have made all the necessary investments in state-of-the-art digital systems, biometrics and cybersecurity, helping to ensure both easy financial access for all and bullet-proof security.

People like this – and their trust has become a focus for innovation. Boundaries long-ago started to blur between sectors as smart phones seamlessly became digital wallets that we’re all happy to carry in our pockets and commercial marketplaces started opening up within banking apps.

Telecoms, retail and banking are already working as one. So what’s next? And how can banks harness the possibilities dormant in this moment to pursue the greater good alongside profits?
There are four key elements I have identified that, I believe, any CIO in the banking and financial services sector now urgently needs to think about.

1. Understand why data is the right focus rather than infrastructure and applications: how can you make data less rigid and hierarchical, more interactive and agile?
2. Adopt a mature strategy for monetizing data to secure business success, shorten the coming recession and do practical and positive things for communities.
3. Ride the innovation wave — don’t reinvent the wheel finding the right partners who are expert in the tech they need, offering ready-made, proven blueprints.
4. Grow banking eco-systems diversely yet holistically mirroring how people live in the emerging world and both guiding and embracing other sectors to support social good.

This last blog in my series focuses on the final element: Growing banking eco-systems diversely yet holistically.

We trust banks to keep the world turning
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic changed our lives forever, many banks that we work with had already started to proactively mirror how people really live, developing new services to support the less advantaged, ‘unbanked’ sections of our populations. The financial services sector is in an enviable position to keep leading and shaping this kind of positive social change.

It also has the opportunity to power good by supporting the customers of other sectors that are looking to create a more digital, customer centric business, such as healthcare.

Diversify and unify
Banks have long been masters of service diversification. They also figured out early on that true technology agility would be vital to powering this diverse future.

As a result, most banks have embraced a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy. They tend not to be cloud first or cloud only but hold some sensitive infrastructure in a private cloud, some less sensitive in a public cloud, some at the edge, in a local branch or kiosk, some with a partner and potentially on premise, like a call center team. This allows them to seamlessly, securely and cost-effectively open up their integrated channels in ways that other sectors envy, so that each customer can enjoy one joined up experience, wherever and however they choose to interact.

Technology systems and solutions are increasingly consolidating around the user in other sectors too, with organizations evolving their product and service portfolios to ensure that products can be consumed in multiple ways. That might mean adding new delivery options, order options, or ‘as a service’ options. In retail, for example, stores now offer mobile, online, and in-store shopping, with the option to collect goods in store, or to have them delivered.

Imagination is the only real limit
Banking and other financial services organizations now have an opportunity to work imaginatively alongside developers in industries such as retail and healthcare, helping them deliver even more joined up experiences at every point of contact. They can also devise new ways to turn the bricks and mortar banks themselves into hubs for the delivery of community services such as telemedicine or new retail services — as part of one, brilliantly integrated physical and digital ecosystem.

Leading where other industries follow.
In a very real way, the experience of the banking sector is a foundation – or maybe better a springboard – off which other industries can jump. By working together with other sectors, banks can lead the way in helping to drive better physical and financial health for all and spearhead making both cities and rural locations better for the people who live and work there.

The experts at Hitachi Vantara are ready to work with our banking communities to create an agile, data-driven approach that will transform business models, monetize data, unlock new revenue streams and help banks reach out to new markets in tangential industries to forge valuable new connections.

We are already working with the banking sector to proactively transform data into insights, insights into monetization opportunities and monetization opportunities into richer experiences for customers. Whatever new banking delivery models can be imagined, Hitachi Vantara has the expertise to both conceive and achieve — innovating with banks for business well-being but also for the greater good of industry, culture, society and the planet.

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