Technology in banking has moved out of the back office and is now central to all that a bank does. In the digital age, technology enables a good customer experience that is fundamental to banking success. But many banks find themselves hamstrung by the technology
that made them successful. Why?
Many banks are grappling with monolithic technology stacks that have evolved along product lines and customer channels. This is at odds with how customers think and behave: they want banking their way. Legacy technology cannot meet the demands of customers
who want real-time banking services, anywhere, anytime. So all banks need to transform to become more customer-centric and responsive. And under threat from FinTechs that are unburdened by legacy technology, they need to reduce costs permanently.
Against this backdrop of change and disruption, all banks need to move from a monolithic infrastructure to one that embraces microservices. The real challenge is to know where to begin and how to plan a migration that unites the bank and gets everyone pointing
in the same direction.
Agile principles and continuous delivery methods at the inception of these technologies can deliver bank transformation. In the bank of the future, DevOps teams are no longer part of an IT department but are part of the beating heart of the business. Sooner
or later, all banks must modernise to survive, but early adopters will be well rewarded.
The time is right for all banks to transform.
The pressure to be more agile
In a climate of unprecedented change, all financial institutions are under mounting pressure to boost efficiency and become more agile.
However, many are grappling with legacy technology stacks that are unwieldy and costly to maintain. It is perhaps ironic that the very technology which enabled many banks to become successful is now an impediment to their future growth. Some banks are reaching
a tipping point for several reasons:
The rise of mobile. With more banking transactions being completed on mobile devices, real-time processing has become mainstream, not just for payments but increasingly for all forms of banking. Many legacy core banking platforms still use batched-based
processes and there have been many workarounds to support real-time payments. There are limits to what can be achieved without modernising the bank’s core platform. Sooner or later, all banks must address this problem, but for many ‘rip and replace’ is unviable
– it is simply too expensive and too risky a project, with no visible return in the short term. New regulations.
A plethora of emerging regulations – such as PSD2 – decree that banking should become more open and competitive. In reality, open banking is bringing financial services into line with other industries by harnessing the power of open APIs to boost innovation
and facilitate collaboration. Managing open banking on a legacy platform is impractical and over time will become prohibitively costly. Competition. Many new market entrants offer a modern FinTech approach to banking. They are unimpeded by legacy technology
or business processes and can offer a tech-first approach to banking that is firmly rooted in DevOps, microservices and continuous delivery. These digital or ‘neobanks’ are raising the bar of possibility in banking and also offer fresh thinking. They can deliver
a great customer experience that is independent of products or channel.
The time is now for transformation
With their monolithic technology stacks, many traditional banks will become unable to compete with these nimble newcomers. Customers. Many traditional banks have loyal customers who have been with them for a long time. But even the most loyal customers have
rising expectations that are increasingly set outside financial services. Tech giants like Google and Amazon put the customer experience at the heart of all that they do, so banks must work hard to catch up. Those with a monolithic technology stack will soon
be left behind and will struggle to retain customers.
Sooner or later, all banks must modernise their technology to offer new services and maintain market share.
Moving to a microservices environment promises much more than a technology renewal; it can act as an agent of bank transformation. By adopting microservices, a bank can move away from a ‘siloed’ product-led culture to one that focuses on customer needs and
expectations. The move to microservices also empowers the bank to do more with less - to become more innovative, agile and competitive.
There can be little doubt that a rapid move to microservices is desirable, and in the long run will be essential for the survival and prosperity of any bank. So why delay?