On the slow transformation of the big banks

Done some blogging at the Ziggy blog on the slow digital transformation going on in the big full-service banks. Last week Annika Falkengren, CEO of SEB, one of the four main banks in Sweden claimed in an interview that digitalization was ‘a hype’, ‘mainly about customer relations’ and that the banks are proactively on the case.

I beg to disagree, claiming in the blog post that digitalization can’t be about putting lipstick on top of an old model. But instead needs to be about questioning the whole business model, organizational capabilities and governance structures with an aim to stay relevant in a digital world. There isn’t any shortage of interesting threats for big banks either, with crypto-currencies, crowdfunding, P2P-lending, the sharing-economy and so on. Also, millennials who rather visit the dentist than listening to their bank, should ring a warning-bell or two.

Old business models, risk aversive culture, hierarchical and Tayloristic organizations, rigid governance structures and legacy IT-systems are things that needs to be taken into account in order to fix the banks for the future. On the other hand, they do in theory have a fantastic advantage in all the data I share with my bank on how I consume and live, which could serve as a fundament do become relevant again. Even more so when we move beyond self-service and into digital concierges. But, banks need to realize they aren’t immune to change and that the change needs to go beyond customer relations.

The blog post can be found in Swedish here and translated via Google Translate to English here. Enjoy!

Image credit: Chase Lindberg @ Flickr

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Christoffer Vollmer

Strategist, project manager, economist, change agent & experience designer with almost 20 years experience of digital strategy, transformation & disruption. Blogging about strategy, disruptive innovation, design thinking and digital transformation.