Bring together a bunch of Dutch banking operations executives and you realize how well the Dutch speak English and how challenging their roles are—more regulation, the rise of the customer experience and the need for new operating models are clearly on the agenda. 2013’s OPEX congress held in Holland (Operational Excellence for Financial Services) featured Cognizant delivering a keynote position. We offered a vision into retail banking spanning the next generation of customer to the next generation of operating model. The workshop session that followed was more talking than working but did get to the nub (or Knab…) of the issue impacting most of the attendees—the need to run better and run different but above all, the need to drive flexibility.
Prior to Cognizant’s slot we enjoyed a great presentation from Dutch online banking upstart Knab bank which really brought this message home. Ms Artie Debidien, a fully-fledged board member of Knab, provided a fascinating insight into how the country’s first digital bank set-up a full service banking initiative within 24 months. Yep. 24 months after spinning out from a parent organization. The audience looked on with envy as the bank set out its product set and architecture set around open standards with minimal legacy to worry about. Knab’s focus is on the need of its customer i.e. the customer experience: Knabs process architecture, supporting operating models and technology decision making flexes with the customer experience clearly in mind. The final price for the customer came in at a flat €15 per month charge, which to a younger generation may seem a lot (to this Brit anyhow) but to rest of the participants at the congress, this seemed eminently reasonable. Flexibility in its operating model—something we think is not unique to upstart—is clearly present.
Cognizant’s vision aligned perfectly with Knabs. At the core of Knab is flexibility—a vision that Cognizant offers to other, older financial services firms as they look to modernize process work and develop new ways of working. Cognizant’s vision sees consumer technologies transforming how the banks run and what they do. Cognizant believes the integrated “SMAC” stack (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) are pouring into enterprise IT at a staggering rate. If harnessed correctly then SMAC is the modernizing force that will enable Banks to run processes better and operating models differently. Use hybrid architectures to ensure technology partners provide the flexibility and utility offerings needed to reach new customers, innovate around product sets or develop new methods of managing customer data. Cognizant went on to present results from a marketing campaign designed to ask the next generation of customer—the digital natives—what they want from the next generation of banks. This need for flexibility was paramount and it would seem that Knab is halfway there. Cognizant’s marketing campaign reveals that the next generation of customer wants much more and faster product innovation and will actively co-create with a bank to get there—a very novel concept for the room where social media strategies focus on more brand protection rather than true product innovation.
Do email me if you would like a copy of the presentation. My next post will examine the audience talk that followed the keynote...