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Oscar-worthy banking claims

When I need to take a break from being immersed in the business of banking, I like to watch movies. And since the pandemic lockdown, I’ve watched quite a few. Along the way I’ve come to realize that life does indeed imitate art, sometimes in surprising ways. In this blog I’ll take a light-hearted look at drawing parallels between famous movie quotes (the art) and the business of banking (our work life) – specifically within the context of banking transformation.

“My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.”
Forrest Gump, 1994

A core modernization path can be like a box of chocolates. There are lots of choices, and so much weighs on whichever path you choose. Does the bank try to do it all in-house? Hire an experienced provider? Outsource? Leverage a solutions integrator to help manage the “in between”? Pick and choose which components stay and which go? If you choose a solution that is still legacy underneath the covers, are you just repeating the same mistakes but with a better face to it (and less chocolate than advertised)? The bottom line is you will need to do your research, explore your options, and choose wisely!

“There can be only one!”
Highlander, 1986

The highlander in the movies claims “There can be only one!” over and over. Yet there always seemed to be “another one” for him to defeat, and then he’d make the same claim again. 

Beware of any vendor that claims to be “the only one” that can provide a modern solution. There are others, the market is not cornered by only one. For example, you may hear a provider say they have the “only headless core” … I can name several on the market today.  Or, the only “open API enabled SaaS solution” ...  I can provide a list like an a la carte menu of options.

Bottom line – like the movies, there are options. Also like the movies, you should take note of the relevant reviews (from objective sources), and do your due diligence. Not every movie is an award-winning blockbuster, nor is any particular vendor or solution “the only one” to be considered.

“I'll have what she's having.”
When Harry Met Sally, 1989

The latest solutions may look and sound sexy – “cloud native, open, API enabled” – compared to an aging incumbent set of cobbled together pieces. But which ones really deliver the goods – and which ones are more akin to the diner scene with Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal? Both types are out there!

“If you build it, they will come.”
Field of Dreams, 1989

Many financial institutions think they want to build versus buy.  “We have something we can leverage” – and most do – but there’s more to it than that. The path forward may be more about leveraging the best of what is there and optimizing what isn’t or needs to be. If you build it, will the customers come? How long will it take? Will it really be better, or will your competitors beat you to the market as you burned cycles trying to build?

“I'm the king of the world!”
Titanic, 1997

Making choices in our industry can be tough, and costly. Banks that once felt on top of the world may now feel like their ship is sinking. But their saga isn’t over, not if they know when to let go (as Rose did in the movie): Letting go of ownership of technology, letting go of the impulse to construct another legacy solution, letting go of outdated cultures and processes that aren’t a fit for today’s digital world. To paraphrase the Titanic soundtrack, with digital transformation the heart of the bank will go on.

 “You're gonna need a bigger boat.”
Jaws, 1975

Today’s banking landscape may lead your organization into some shark-infested waters. Working with a proven solution provider provides more certainty in delivery than the disruptors who focus on isolated capabilities. Having that “bigger boat” provides more breadth and depth of capability and allows for both today and tomorrow. 

“Houston, we have a problem.”
Apollo 13, 1995

Don’t limit yourself with your choices. Otherwise, as soon as your business needs begin to grow and expand, you may find yourself, well, lost in space; a million miles from a holistic, integrated, future-proofed solution. However, with talented engineers and innovators available to guide you on your mission-critical journey, your bank can truly transform and shoot for the stars.

 “What we've got here is failure to communicate.”
 Cool Hand Luke, 1967

Too many vendors “sell” rather than “solution”.  They throw out all the buzzwords and promise plug and play services.  But do they do more than talk the talk? The best partners in digital transformation are those that understand your business and its objectives, and consistently keep the lines of communication open and clear.

“Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night.”
All About Eve, 1950

Modernization isn’t easy. You may hit some bumps in the road identifying where capabilities should truly reside; which components remain and which need modernization; isolating channels from cores with agnostic APIs; decomposing core data content into components to minimize core replacement impact; converting the system of record data into a new core – to name a few. But with the right partners, the bumps will be fewer and the journey more satisfying.

“Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
The Pride of the Yankees, 1942

Once your new modern solution is in place, accounts are onboarded, and customers start to clamor, you are on your way. And then, the sky really is the limit.


Oscar™ is the copyrighted property and registered trademark and service mark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.



Comments: (2)

João Bohner
João Bohner - Independent Consultant - Carapicuiba 04 September, 2020, 13:24Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes


Great, Andrew!

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 04 September, 2020, 14:26Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Good one!

Here's another one:

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” ~ The Big Short movie. While this quote - attributed to Mark Twain - rings very true, I've never been able to find too many examples for it.

Although the movie and book are on banking, the quote appears only in the movie version, so the book version is of no help in finding examples, at least none that are self-explanatory. 

Can you think of any good examples?

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