The smart deployment of technology, strategic partnerships, and an adaptive organizational culture: each is important to business success. However, the real power comes from combining them.
Companies that take a thoughtful approach to connecting these elements can gain an edge in building new and better ways of operating that translate into competitive advantage.
Today there’s an unprecedented level of technology-driven interconnectivity within a company and across its ecosystem of suppliers and customers. Technology can make things faster, better, less costly, more efficient and simpler. However, the opposite is also possible: technology, if not executed well, can add complexity. It can be challenging to choose the right approach to technology to gain the benefits and avoid the pitfalls.
Concerns around the smart deployment of technology include:
- Which emerging technologies should we deploy?
- Is it better to build or to buy?
- If we invest, given rapid advances in technology, will this still be the best solution in 18 months to two years? Will it be difficult to upgrade in the future?
- What are the connection points across our systems and workflows that could be impacted by change? How can we address the end-to-end processes for maximum benefit and to avoid creating disconnects with unintended consequences for our business and our customers?
To address these concerns, companies are seeking the right strategic partners to take advantage of technology. The goal is not only to solve practical problems but also to more easily acquire and execute the right solutions. The result should create simplicity and seamlessness within the organization and for customers.
With these goals in mind, banks are making a fundamental shift in how they fit into a customer’s business environment:
- It doesn’t matter how you choose to interact with your bank; you should be able to get the same, consistent experience and sense of immediacy and ease.
- You don’t have to change what you’re doing and fit into how your bank does things. Today, banks can bring the bank to you; to fit so tightly into your way of doing things you hardly notice we are separate from you.
- The concept is similar to how you experience commerce in your personal life.
Banks are achieving this new level of partnership in a variety of ways, including:
- Application programming interfaces (APIs). Banks are using APIs to support a new level of collaboration with customers. An API-based solution uses program code, i.e. a set of instructions, to initiate a sequence of actions. The implementation involves getting two different software applications to communicate with each other. Banks are using APIs to knit together bank and customer processes into one seamless, end-to-end experience. The resulting solutions allow banks to fit into customers and create always-on, real-time connectivity that can make everything faster, more efficient and cost effective. The overall result is greater ease and simplicity.
- Bank-fintech collaboration. Banks are working with fintechs to give customers access to new technologies and improved services more quickly and easily as part of a complete package. A collaborative approach builds on the longstanding tradition of banks sourcing innovation from third-party financial technology vendors.
Organizations need to become comfortable with change. An adaptive culture not only embraces change; it seeks out continual improvement. As technology heightens interconnectivity across a company’s systems and with its strategic partners, a supportive organizational culture becomes mission-critical to sustaining innovation.
- Internal inclusivity. Making things better in an interconnected world often takes complex thinking among diverse stakeholders. Cross-organizational collaboration ensures you cover all the angles across end-to-end processes as you find better ways of operating.
- External alignment. How well does your organizational culture fit with that of your partners and vendors? Cultural synergy is vital to a successful relationship.
A strong foundation for better business
A holistic approach links technology to strategic partnerships and culture. Like legs in a stool, combining these three components can provide a sturdy foundation on which to build new and better ways of operating.