Reimagining the banking sector

Apr 19, 2018 | Articles, Practice - Data, Practice - Strategy

Reimagining the banking sector – staying ahead of the buzzwords

Business, and particularly banking, is all about buzzwords. Whether it’s DevOps, Big Data, robotics or Blockchain, most people have been talking and reading about them for a while now – and in the background, a few teams have actually been practicing them. Here at Brickendon, we, along with our clients around the world, are getting to grips with where the buzzwords meet reality and the changes that this is bringing. We are in fact, reimagining the banking sector.   

DevOps

DevOps has been a huge area of interest and there has been sufficient rigour put into its execution that it has removed the likelihood of the pitfalls in pre-crisis agile development practices. Back in the early 2000s, financial services development teams started discussing and implementing agile methodologies. While there were successes, it also led to a plethora of projects with improper documentation due to misinterpretation of agile principles. Agile discussions quickly became a warzone and it was difficult to determine which teams were really deriving benefit from the new methodology without getting into a detailed review of their development process and delivery.

By contrast, our experience of implementing Brickendon’s award-winning DevOps methodology is less focused on the method and more about the intention behind the implementation. Like many of the buzzwords, DevOps is being implemented in order to create a more client-centric or client-conscious portfolio of services. Alongside the domains of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and MicroService Architecture (MSA), DevOps is entirely geared to producing an improved client experience.

Big Data

Meanwhile, Big Data relates to how clients use combinations of business offerings, or how offerings can be created or amended to better serve the client. Applied Economics has long told us that anything can be measured – from customer loyalty to employee satisfaction, however the familiar refrain in board and management meetings is that certain concepts are too complex and therefore ‘impossible to measure’. The assumption has always been that if we cannot measure with accuracy, we should not approximate. With the increased availability of Big Data systems and the proliferation of Data Scientists, confidence has increased and this assumption has reversed, enabling organisations to start using their data to better understand and serve their clients.

The interesting trend is that now Big Data systems are part of almost every financial institution, the marginal cost of introducing new dimensions of data analysis has dramatically decreased. This has allowed us to use our data expertise to partner with our clients to generate Big Data insights in every aspect of the business – not just processes which directly face the client. This means operations teams can gather data to improve and reconfigure their internal processes with the same ultimate aim of providing an improved experience for the client.

Robotics

Robotics, another big focus area for Brickendon, has also gone through an interesting transformation now that the initial hype has subsided. At first, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) was treated as the interesting new tool to be applied to every problem. Now however, common sense has prevailed, and technology teams are taking time to explain to their business that every RPA instance is actually another element of technology risk that has to be managed and tested. At Brickendon we have been working with our clients to ascertain the risk appetite for RPA implementation and to decide which processes are appropriate for RPA and which would benefit from a less-risky and lower-cost approach to automation.

At Brickendon, we believe now is an exciting time to be in financial services. We continue to see a lot of change in our clients’ organisations and as the marketing sheen wears off the new technologies and processes, we are entering an even more interesting phase where we will see the impact of these developments.

Digitalisation and machine learning

There is plenty of work still to do and plenty of challenges lie ahead. It will be interesting to see how DevOps is embraced by large organisations, how MicroService Architectures age over time outside Silicon Valley, and how organisations embrace RPA, digitalisation and machine learning. Add to that the challenges surrounding data, cross-border transfer and compliance and there is no doubt that there is an exciting array of fascinating improvements to be made that we, here at Brickendon, know have real business value for our clients. As a transformational consultancy with a global outlook we are reimagining the banking sector to stay ahead of the buzzwords for 2018.

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