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David Vs Goliath equals Challengers Vs legacy banks?

The Philistines gathered their forces for war and David and Goliath faced each other. One a giant, with enormous power. The other lithe, fleet of foot, resourceful and unencumbered.

There are numerous similarities to our biblical warriors and today's traditional banks, firmly in the cross hairs of the so-called challengers; Tesco Bank, Virgin Money, M&S Bank, Metro Bank, Aldermore, Shawbrook and TSB. The latter, of course, is set to join the other side, with the proposed £1.7bn takeover by Spanish suitor Banco Sabadell.

But as Malcom Gladwell points out in his chart-topping 'David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants', the end result may be less to do with luck and more the result of disruptive forces and known strengths.

Goliath has unclear vision

Although Goliath is a giant, even by modern standards, we learn that Goliath might have had a disorder called acromegaly. This condition leads to a person growing extremely tall but also often leads to double-vision and severe near-sightedness, which means Goliath needs David to come to him to fight. A big competitor's perceived advantage can often mask even bigger disadvantages.

Goliath is traditionally restricted

The Philistines had planned to send their toughest warrior against the toughest of the  Israelites, to settle a dispute in 'single combat'. While Goliath is swathed from head to toe in traditional glittering bronze armour and armed to the teeth, David refuses to be restricted and disrupts proceedings by not fighting Goliath hand to hand. That doesn’t play to David's strengths.

David is deadly

The final misconception is the idea that David goes into battle with "only a sling". Far from it, he is a calculating trained killer and the sling in fact is an incredibly devastating weapon. David has every intention and expectation of being able to hit Goliath at his most vulnerable spot; between his eyes

There are no prizes for guessing the result. However, the moral of this story is that you need to know your own strengths and weakness, so you can more effectively use these to maximise their value and protect your vulnerabilities. Pure Sun Tzu principles of warfare.

Far-fetched or a parallel to the modern-day David and Goliaths, the traditional and challenger banking battles?

Non-traditional players are challenging the established order, leading with customer-centric innovation. Like David, they are lithe, fleet of foot, resourceful, unencumbered by older established processes and routines. Utilising technology without the overhead of legacy systems, offering agile and flexible customer focussed operations.

For traditional banks, a customer-centric approach creates major demands on their legacy line of business systems and processes.

It is in such environments that enterprise content management (ECM) solutions come to the fore, by providing an agile middleware layer of renewed functionality, which helps increase user productivity.

In a seamlessly interoperable environment, the ECM strategy will allow legacy banks to go beyond simple data retrieval, where customers may provide the initial data electronically via an eform, a mixture of electronic and paper documents or even as a transferred file from the account transfer agency. Data can be captured simply; auto-filled and indexed across the required legacy systems; updated and linked to relevant documentation stored within the ECM, while providing management information and reporting dashboards, without the need to switch screens, rekey information or train staff on multiple systems. Just fast efficient interoperability, providing effective and secure data delivery.

Legacy banks would do well by taking a leaf out of David's book, by focusing on reshaping their own processes and operations. Embracing a strategy that doesn't require legacy systems to be replaced, extensive specialist IT consultancy and developers, has to make solid business and financial sense!



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