Retail Banks are Morphing into Something New

The traditional banking paradigm where the bank sets the rules and the customer accepts them is at odds with how consumer’s lives and habits have changed since the advent of the internet and smartphone. This is both a threat and an opportunity for retail banks as they choose to either cling to existing means of doing business or leverage their position of trust to shape shift into a new kind of entity that anticipates customer needs and offers an expanded range of services. Just as Amazon has fundamentally changed retail shopping, consumer finance and payments options will expand as new entrants make it easier to access and manage our money.

Accenture has built an entire business practice around this idea to help banks rethink how they can reshape their customer value proposition by embracing digital technologies to streamline and expand operations. Central to Accenture’s “Everyday Bank” concept is the bank’s “digital engine” which is a fast and flexible infrastructure that will allow services to be combined in creative ways based on the unique needs of different customers and business partners.… Read the rest

Don’t Let "Technical Debt" put your Reputation at Risk

bank-it-exec-nightmareIf you ask most financial services CIOs, they’ll say their “wake up in a cold sweat” nightmare is about a system they are responsible for causing an outage that generates embarrassing headlines like this, this or this.

These kinds of incidents have immediate consequences as customers close accounts and regulators levy fines, but the lasting impact, which can be far greater, is the damage to the firm’s reputation. The market has always had a long memory, and the stakes are higher than ever after a five year period marked by scandals and gaffes that have seen public sentiment turn against the banks in general.

In a conversation with the CIO of one of our banking customers, he pointed out that reputational risk has become one of his top priorities and something that’s always front of mind when selecting a technology or designing a new project.  He explained that he has come to view complexity as the main driver of risk, and therefore public enemy #1, and his project priorities have been affected accordingly.… Read the rest

Solace and Sun collaborate to simplify financial networks

Many people think Sun Microsystems is in limbo—stuck between the company they were and what they’ll become as part of Oracle. Competitors have suggested that Sun has stopped innovating and that it’s time to move to another platform. But as a close partner of Sun’s, I can assure you that the picture inside Sun is very different. Their best minds are still generating great ideas, solving customer problems and pushing the boundary with innovative new technology. Some of you may have seen Oracle’s recent ad in the Wall Street Journal (and many other places) declaring that they are looking forward to taking on IBM head on in the hardware business.

Solace signed a partnership with Sun shortly before the Oracle acquisition was announced in the spring. Sun’s technology assets and Solace’s high-performance JMS solution have generated interest with Sun customers since we began working together more than a year ago.… Read the rest