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Shall Digital Banking Carry a Pen and a Pad?

By Guillermo Kopp, Worldwide Financial Services Industry Director, Microsoft on March 12, 2017

Filed under Financial Services - Banking & Capital Markets

Bankers, as well as their customers, must continually plow through various documents such as applications, financial reports, market analyses, offering letters, regulatory disclosures, and contractual agreements. After decades of adopting digital technologies, some stubborn banking documents linger on paper within a customer binder, pitchbook, or transaction folder.

What is the problem with paper in banking? Among other nuisances, papers take time to move from one department to another, across disperse locations, and forth and back from the customer.

Why would then any paper bring value to digital banking? It seems quite the opposite. Banks that automate sequential, paper-oriented workflows “as is” might improve efficiency somehow. However, such “digital” systems would remain mired in the burden of legacy. Convoluted and manual business processes do not benefit the customer.

What many “digital” advocates seem to miss is the need to transform banking processes by rethinking business scenarios. Minding the actual value to the customer inspires creative thinking. And diverse minds can collectively envision better business models or process breakthroughs.

Facing disruption by Fintechs and adjacent industries, banks struggle to think outside the (banking) box. True innovators should put the digital customer first and worry less, at least for a few moments, about banking regulations and the thousand reasons on why legacy processes should stay like so. This is a prerequisite to digital transformation.

Here is precisely where a pen and a blank pad may come handy. To let the creative juices flow freely. To stop storming the brain with constraints. And brainstorm instead about open skies, with cloud capabilities, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and a plethora of novel digital technologies.

The ingenuity and the power of teams yield worthy ideas. So, the pen will fill the pad with cohesive digital banking design criteria. New designs will pop up full of customer value and free of artificial constraints. Indeed, bright leadership ideas often crop up as simple sketches on a piece of paper.

Great ideas may also flow in digital form: Annotated with electronic ink, co-authored, and shared electronically. Team members from remote locations may join the conversation seamlessly through videoconferencing and shared documents. Insightful systems with advanced analytics may also pitch in and coin thought provoking suggestions that are drawn from internal and external sources. As banks open their minds to such ingenious pen and pad, creative digital transformation will flourish.

Read more on the Microsoft Banking & Capital Markets and Insurance blogs.

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