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We had a lively meeting at the Financial Services Club the other day, talking about cloud computing in banking.
I say lively because it is still clear to me that cloud is misunderstood in banking.
I guess because cloud is this amorphous mass of stuff that is ill-defined and hard to track down to a real requirement.
You have all these things as a service you see. Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service … you name it as a Service.
Nevertheless, we did spread some light on the subject by a panel discussion that comprised some lawyers (Kemp Little), some providers (Amazon Web Services), some users (Visa Europe) and some innovators (the Currency Cloud).
It’s getting crowded out there in the mobile payments space.
After years of inactivity, everyone’s woken up to the opportunities
out there, not the least PayPal.
PayPal did nothing in mobile through the 2000s, and I
worried they were missing a huge opportunity to grow their business. In fact, being close to the UK PayPal team,
it was a shock when they pretty much closed their mobile focus in 2008.
I was listening to a futurist talking about our planet, its
growth, its overpopulation, the challenge of feeding the planet, sustainability
and more, and in the middle of all of this he said that the future would have
I gave a presentation the other day and, as usual, concluded
that banks should position themselves as data vaults. One person then asked: what data should a bank make secure? which is a good question to
ask, as it led to a healthy debate and improvement of clarity of view.
Today, we produce exabytes of data every hour. How much data? Well, it’s hard to quantify as the data
explosion of the last decade is so immense, but this slide gives you a good
I used to think that we were good at designing systems. We would phase test them, user test them,
stress test them and more, and eventually we would roll out the system and it would
work. And life was good.
Then we started getting into a new world of developments
where systems relied on networks, networks relied on servers, servers relied on
mirroring, mirroring relied on programs and programs relied on programmers.
The interlinkage and interdependcies became more and more complex
and clouded, rather than simpler and easier, and the systems started to
fail. And life was bad.
I was surprised to read this morning that the former leaders
of Barclays (Capital) Bank are launching a new European stock exchange.
Apparently Rich Ricci and Bob Diamond – the former
CEO of Barclays investment bank and Barclays Bank respectively – are the backers
of Aquis, an exchange run by former Chi-X CEO Alasdair Haynes. The other major backer is the Warsaw Stock Exchange,
who own a 30 percent stake.
I’m sure they know what they’re doing, but does Europe need
I wasn’t going to post this on the blog, as it has nothing
to do with banking, but it’s August and no-one’s bothered what I post. It does also have some
relevance as I blogged yesterday about banks being stuck with 20th century
processes. That blog entry received this response from Nick Bush: a more customer-centric approach would help. Your piece
shows that existing players have yet to fully adopt this.
I got a copy of a fascinating survey by ING yesterday on
mobile social banking. The survey asked 12,000 people in 12 countries in Europe about banking in the digital age, and here’s their summary of the main conclusions:
1. More than a third – or 37% – of consumers already use mobile banking. The Netherlands
is the most developed mobile banking spot, based upon the measure that takes
internet penetration into account. Turkey is the mobile banking hotspot, with
the largest share of internet users who use mobile banking.
We hosted Errol Damelin, Chief Executive and Founder of
Wonga as our keynote guest at the London Financial Services Club last week, to
end our season of meetings for the 2012-2013 season (2013-2014 season about to
This is a question that comes up more and more, and there’s
an easy answer: it’s very important; and a harder answer: it’s not always
important; and this is a key discussion in the context of immediate payments, something
that is getting talked about more and more.
In fact, my friends over at Glenbrook covered this at the
recent NACHA Conference in San Diego. They ran a panel with
guests from Bankgirot in
Sweden, KIR in
Poland, VocaLink in the U.K.
and the Banco de México,
with these infrastructures all outlining their offers and strengths.
Purely for objectivity, here’s one slide from each that
There is a sound file recording which gives you the presentation speech to go with the slides btw but, be warned, it's very poor quality with some significant interference from a nearby mobile telephone (bleedin' malware everywhere!).
I guess it was the mention of Apple (whose glossy rosy tint
has reduced of late).
Or maybe it is that core message about designing for humans
rather than money.
In fact, I did toy with the idea of Banks designed for humans, not geeks as a title, as the
techno crowd fall into the same fervent misnomer as the branch crowd.
Equally, most get this wrong because they built their
operations for one point of emphasis – branch, call centre, internet – and now
are struggling because no longer do we deal with channels,
we deal with a human at their point of need or want or desire or thought.
This is what the data geeks are really drilling down for: to
get to the customer 24*7 as they have financial needs, wants, desires and
thoughts, and that is why today's title is Banks designed for humans by geeks.