Collaboration with fintech startups is seen as a critical element in bank digital transformation strategies, according to a survey of financial executives conducted by IDC.
Six in 10 of the 265 global banks polled by IDC on behalf of SAP are open to partnering with financial technology firms. One in three banks (34%) are open to a collaboration with a fintech company and one in four (25%) would consider an acquisition, the survey found.
"The relationship between banks and start-ups is an interesting and nuanced one," says Rob Hetherington, global head of financial services, SAP. "Banks are in the midst of digital transformation, looking for ways to speed their time to market and to deliver new value or services to customers. Start-ups on the other hand are mobile, agile and built solely for the customer, yet they lack the regulatory know-how and customer confidence that large, global banks have. Both have something the other wants, and I anticipate that we'll witness far greater collaboration, integration and - in some instances - acquisitions happening in the next year."
Despite this, many of the banks polled are seen as rushing into partnerships without any enterprise-wide plan in place, creating 'islands of innovation' with no overarching theme.
The study found that fewer than a quarter of banks in Emea have a strategic enterprise-wide approach to digital transformation in place. Banks in Asia Pacific are seen as leading the way in this respect, with 29% having implemented an organisation-wide shift to digital.
Jerry Silva, research director for IDC Financial Insights, comments: "Digital transformation at any bank always begins with an honest self-evaluation involving many questions that touch upon evolving customer demands, strengths, weaknesses and the competitor landscape. From there banks must then invest in a full digitial transformation stareegy by building board-level involvement, build a leadership structure for organisation-wide transformation and finally build an infrastructure that supports partnerships."