19 February 2018
Stacey Small


Stacey Small - The Glue

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02 May 2017  |  936 views  |  0

If you haven’t seen the latest TV commercial from Samsung then you need to. Set to the theme of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ an adventurous and ambitious, flightless ostrich accidentally finds itself with a virtual reality headset which enables him, in what seems to be over a 24 hour period, to achieve the impossible, and fly. Whether you like the advertisement or not, or perhaps you don’t warm to the ostrich, the message they are portraying can’t help but inspire. In a world where technology is constantly pushing the boundaries, we in financial services should not be grounded by inhibiting, ‘legacy’ technologies.

We all know what we want to achieve and what we need to do, and what makes it harder, is that the new ‘challenger’ banks have no constraints and are already ‘flying’ high whilst some of the more established banking giants appear to be stuck on the runway. The global financial services industry, as a whole, is at the digital coalface frontier. And what was once perceived to be the pioneering sector in terms of the adoption of modern technologies, is rapidly being marginalised, not only by the increasing onslaught of regulation but by customers who are demanding higher levels of service at a far cheaper price.

The operational reliance on ‘legacy’ technology is instrumental to the banks every day running. But the thought, that one day these footings of technology will have to be replaced, is a very daunting prospect. Yes, maybe over a seven, to ten year period, you could consider implementing a change programme to replace a heavyweight, out-dated and complex system infrastructure, but the reality of this approach is that by the time the change has been achieved, the replacement solution will already be out of date. The regulatory landscape would have changed and the front-end digital experience, unrecognisable.

The first Apple iPhone was released on 29th June 2007, ten years ago, look how much has changed in that time. Many of the original apps are already dated and those demanding millennials are accustomed to artificial intelligence and conversational experiences.

There is simply not the time, nor does it make business sense to think that a multiyear transformation project would be efficient or even achievable.

The Ostrich has been around for some 20 million years and still can’t fly. They need technology.

So what do we do? “Could I get some VR glass for my technology and enable my organisation to truly digitally transform, in order to, not only catch up, or indeed leapfrog the competition, but also provide a platform which can continuously adapt?”

“Imagine if I could add a layer to my existing technology investments and then be able to exploit all of the innovation which is in the market place?”

When the back-end ‘legacy’ systems were originally developed they were never designed to accommodate, or cope with the specialist requirements of today’s new digitally driven commercial models. Banks are being bombarded by vendors and consultants telling them that the only solution is installation of complex (read ‘legacy’) middleware systems that ultimately need back end replacement to ensure that the version is always supported. This is both costly and time consuming with the larger banks facing years to receive a return on interest, if they ever do. In many cases these large replacement projects spiral out of control and are never delivered. On top of that, new challenger banks are looking to take the more lucrative parts of the business with niche offerings.

Time is up and we are ready for a change. If you think the traditional well-known names in the banking industry are going to sit back and watch the new players ‘eat their lunch’ then I’d beg to differ. And I’m sure others would agree…



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