Unleashing the future of finance with a tech startup approach to banking

In the ever-evolving landscape of the financial industry, banks are facing unprecedented challenges that demand a paradigm shift in their approach. With a wave of innovative new technology companies such as PayPal, Venmo, Chime, Acorns, Betterment, SoFi, Square, Cash App, Stripe, and Plaid that bring the kind of speed and flexibility customers simply can’t do without, traditional banks are feeling the pressure to stay relevant and competitive. These app-based checking accounts have captivated millions of customers with their seamless user interfaces and fee-free services, highlighting the need for traditional banks to step up their game.

Moreover, the intrusion of tech giants like Apple, Facebook, and Google into the financial domain further intensifies the urgency for banks to transform their operations. Apple’s credit card and Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency initiative serves as glaring examples of the encroachment of tech companies into banking territory. As the competition grows fiercer, banks are recognizing the imperative to master technology and adopt a tech startup mindset to ensure their long-term survival. Speed and innovation have become the key differentiators in the financial arena, with the journey from an idea to a service expected to be accomplished in weeks, not years. To thrive in the digital age, banks must take a page out of the tech companies’ playbook, invest heavily in core technology, and offer cutting-edge products to meet the ever-evolving customer demands. Embracing technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer an option but a necessity, as it holds the potential to transform the future of banking and shape a customer-centric and agile industry.

Continuing the drive towards technological transformation, Amlan J Patnaik, a senior technology executive at NTT DATA Americas, has been at the forefront of revolutionizing the digital landscape for some of the United States’ largest banks, including Wells Fargo, GE Capital, and Synchrony Bank. He is steering these banks towards operating more like tech startups. Recognizing the paramount importance of innovation in the financial and healthcare industry, he is also spearheading product development and driving groundbreaking innovations at NTT DATA by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“The rapid pace of digital innovation is disrupting the banking industry, and legacy systems are struggling to keep up. Customers now demand the same cutting-edge features and level of experience they receive from tech companies and trendy apps. However, existing core banking systems and applications have not kept up with new technologies and architectural styles. Furthermore, the operation and maintenance of these legacy systems are becoming more challenging and costly due to the dwindling number of experts with the institutional and technical knowledge required to support outdated core systems,” says Amlan.

Amlan shared some crucial insights and a roadmap for establishing the foundations to operate like a tech startup, drawing from his experiences in technology transformation at major fortune 500 banking organizations. He played a pivotal role in rearchitecting their legacy systems and spearheading the development of the next-generation banking platform and createdthe banking platform that effectively competes with the features, functionality, and user experience offered by fintech startups and well-established technology giants.

As Amlan Patnaik continues to lead the charge towards technological transformation in the banking sector, he consistently modernizes the existing banking systems for his clients by strengthening the six foundational pillars crucial for successful Digital Transformation: Skills, Security, Stability, Scalability, Speed, and Satisfaction.

Emphasizing the significance of building a skilled workforce, he highlights the importance of learning agility to achieve the company’s mission. Amlan believes in upscaling and reskilling the team to become trusted operators, aligning with the path to success in this rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Among the foundational pillars, security is critical, particularly for financial institutions entrusted with sensitive data. As Amlan Patnaik aptly puts it, a bank’s primary offering is trust, assuring customers that their money and data are safe. This involves robust cybersecurity measures and stringent controls to protect against potential threats.

Stability takes center stage, given that 90% of all banking transactions occur digitally. For any financial organization, downtime can be disastrous. Amlan underscores the importance of building resilience into applications, automating processes, and rationalizing applications to ensure a stable operation.

Scalability is another critical pillar, demanding on-demand services that can seamlessly accommodate fluctuating transaction volumes. The technology must have the flexibility to scale up and down as required. With the increase in adoption of cloud across the industry, scalability is now within reach and banks must move fast to take advantage of this advancement.

Speed, a key differentiator in the industry, is an area where Amlan has driven significant change. Traditionally, banking technology projects could take more than a year to complete, but he has successfully transformed his clients, cutting down delivery time significantly. Through multifunctional teams and process automation, breaking the legacy monolithic applications into lightweight APIs and microservices on the cloud, and building a modern DevOps pipeline, banks can accelerate the pace of development to deliver new products and features to the market (think weeks) and improve return on investment.

Ultimately, the final pillar, satisfaction, becomes the cornerstone of the strategy.” Regardless of how strong the other pillars may be, if the end customer is not content with app features or uptime, we have failed,” says Amlan Patnaik. Customer satisfaction is the ultimate validation of progress in achieving the desired goals.

Amlan’s approach to simplifying the strategy and validating progress relative to each pillar holds the promise of delivering better capabilities for innovation. He believes that by maturing and driving value in each area, the technology team can infuse the company with the art of the possible, ensuring the organization remains at the forefront of the ever-evolving digital revolution. Through his expertise and guidance, banks are well-equipped to thrive in the digital age, adopting a tech startup mindset, to shape a customer-centric and agile future for the industry.

The future of the financial industry is undoubtedly exciting, driven by continuous technological advancements and the innovative mindset instilled by visionaries like Amlan Patnaik. As technology continues to evolve, the potential for fintech and generative AI to reshape the banking landscape is immense. Embracing these advancements is not just an option; it’s a necessity for banks to stay ahead of the competition. The willingness to innovate and evolve, coupled with a deep understanding of customer needs, will be the key to success for banking institutions in this dynamic era of digital transformation. “The journey may present challenges, but the future is undeniably bright for the banks willing to adopt a tech startup mindset and reinvent themselves,” says Amlan.

Chancery Giwa is a creative person with an interest in graphic design, website designer, and user interface design. He is also interested in tech hence his resolve to create The Chancery Tech, which brings the latest advancements in the digital world straight to your screen.