Digital optimization is banking’s next big battle in fintech war

Financial institutions fall into two categories: laggards and innovators. Laggards are still struggling to bridge the chasm towards optimization. Innovators, on the other hand, must be thinking about platforms to stay ahead. But the truth is that digital transformation never has an ending. Adjusting your strategy towards digital optimization is the only way to jump the curve.

As the dust begins to settle on the worst of the COVID-19 shutdowns and the Paycheck Protection Program, many financial institutions are rethinking their digital strategies. Fintechs observe this reset of strategies. And they either see their business imploding or exploding, since financial institutions continue to look at digital and digital transformations as a set of capabilities, offerings or products that help them compete.

During my many visits to financial institutions, one thing has become clear in my talks with executives: Financial institutions would rather copy proven offerings than innovate.

Digital Transformation: A Beginning, Not a Destination

While the institutions’ IT teams are trying hard to modernize their way of working, old-fashioned mahogany still rules the boardrooms. This difference in attitude causes a disconnect when it comes to digital transformation.

Neal Cross, former Chief Innovation Officer at DBS, couldn’t have said it any better: “Everything we didn’t get around to, was tossed in a bucket and now that we are forced to address the bucket, we call it digital transformation.”


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