SIX ways to use the financial ecosystem to your benefit

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The last decade or so has seen unprecedented technological changes in the world of commerce, particularly online commerce – where many tech-savvy players have altered the foundation of the banking tradition.

Fintech, being a familiar word by now in the new market, banks are adopting fintech innovations and collaborating with key players of the emerging sector. Since consumer-oriented technology is the key differentiator in these challenging times, internet giants like Google, Amazon, and Apple, have also invested heavily in financial services and competing – across a number of platforms – with traditional banks as well as fintech players. This brings us face to face to a few concerns.

Balancing GDPR and PDS2

Europe’s second payment services directive (PSD2) gave users greater control over their banking data by allowing them to give away that information to new Third Party Providers (TPPs) to receive certain kinds of services. At the same time, the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) had a huge influence on how companies must protect customer data. So while PSD2 has opened up the financial market, encouraging competition and innovation across products and services, all access to personal data for selling these must comply with GDPR. As financial companies attempt to comply with both pieces of legislation the new payment systems will require access to gigantic pools of personal data. The only way forward is now in creating new ecosystems with partner data.

Fintechs and Financial Institutions (FIs) – a matter of survival

Fintechs, which often offer niche products, have implemented innovations that deliver a customer experience the FIs find difficult to offer. Fintechs quickly address customer needs, transforming business environments with top-end technology. Often FIs find they must offer fintech-developed products and services to meet customer demands. Likewise, fintechs in many cases need the support of FIs because they lack the capital, distribution networks and scale necessary to achieve their goals. Also, many fintechs do not offer the financial services themselves, but provide a means to enhance the financial service to customers. So their relationship with the FI is not optional at all. Both fintechs and FIs know that a symbiotic relationship between themselves is integral for the payments ecosystem to survive.

The 6-step approach

  • Put your customers first: Not only consumers, but also corporations, if you want to target them. Customers are now “spoiled” for customer experience choices, which new fintech players are offering. Customers expect you to utilize their personal data for the best possible outcome for them. Use processed customer data to create insights to predict changing behavioral patterns and develop relevant products, addressing real needs.
  • Exploit standard functionality: As a building principle, utilize the standard functionality that comes with MS Dynamics, Salesforce, AWS, Google, Azure or other tech solutions offering sophisticated solutions to gather, process and analyze customer data. Off the shelf solutions could be applied to solve a variety of challenges, like fraud detection, risk modeling and evaluation, market predictions, etc. Exploiting big techs innovation will help you tailor your systems to create market differentiators and cut costs – just be cautious about licensing.
  • Think big start small: Instead of the old waterfall way where you first make detailed description of the solution for your customer and then start building it, start instead by setting a target for the end solution, and then matching it to your corporate goals. Don’t start building the whole solution at once. You target out a smaller area where you either first do a POC (proof of concept), then start building a MVP (minimum viable (lovable) product) to see that it first creates business value, and then you scale it up. The benefit of thinking big, starting small is that you can adopt and “change” your requirements along the way. The challenge from a board/leader perspective is that you not necessarily know what you will actually get at the end in detail.
  • Clear strategy: This goes without saying, but I will still say it. In a fast changing world, you need to have a clear strategy or goal for what you want to achieve. Define your goals from an external point of view, look beyond the internal, break traditional siloes and renew your business models to achieve scalable and sustainable frameworks. New business models are often based on “when needed” but develop business models that are also profitable. There will be areas, which you don’t need to be profitable but will be important in the bigger picture long term to strengthen your overall portfolio. However, you need to be able to adopt fast and not be locked to a typical three-year strategy.
  • Find your niche: There are many new players in the market; new startups, fintechs, big banks, internet giants. Choose well where to compete, where to be strong, where to collaborate, who to partner up with. Understand who can bring you value and what value you can deliver in return. It will be also prudent to look what your competitor is doing in the market to see where you stand.
  • Invest in Sustainability: Make a difference in the market by contributing to sustainable growth and solutions. Sustainability is one of the key differentiators for all big banks and insurance companies. In Norway, we already have pioneers in sustainable investments in DNB and Storebrand who have clear roadmaps in green competitiveness in the financial sector. Norway’s largest bank, DNB invests in and lends money to companies that are future-oriented and committed to restructuring Norway. They contribute to startups that safeguard the environment, social conditions and have good corporate governance. Storebrand, Norway’s second largest asset manager, manages more than NOK 880 billion for 1.1 million Norwegians, investing funds in companies that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development goals.

Afterword

COVID-19 has disrupted the world economy, including the financial markets, and changed the way we go about our daily lives. While it remains unclear what the future holds, it is clear that the fintech industry has been impacted to a varying degree depending upon where in the company lifecycle and the nature of the product. Now is the time to rethink your survival mechanisms and technology will surely be an ally worthy of having.

Contact Tine Gevelt to know more about the topic.

About the author


Tine Gevelt

Ever since finishing her Master of Science degree in Communication Technology at NTNU, Tine has been passionate about how the confluence of technology, people and market creates the real value for business. Now, as the leader for Financial Services & Insurance, with 8 years of leading top clients within the sector, Tine is still driven this passion to create value for her customers by combining insights from this convergence of technology-enterprise-market into scalable future-proof solutions. Her experience within strategic advisory mixed with a technical background enable her to challenge and build trust with customers.

Contact Tine Gevelt to know more about the topic

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