In the financial industry, digital transformation is not just a matter of technical progress. There is much more to it. Financial institutions need something that enables them to achieve real digital transformation, and that means doing much more than bombarding users with notifications from cutting-edge mobile apps. We need to keep in mind that the focus of digital transformation is not only on technology, but also on the experience of use, opportunity, speed and efficiency. True digital transformation is based on technology, but also requires a culture of agile banking, this is stated in the blog of GFT.

But what is such a culture of agile banking and how can such a bank implement this? First I show the changed framework conditions of the banks and then a few recommendations for action. Specifically, methods are shown how agile banking can look like.

Agile Banking – why?

Being a banker, that was something. But for classic banks, the future looks bleak. There are many reasons for this: Social networks, low interest rate policy and government regulation are a few of them, according to the FAZ. In addition to a low interest rate policy, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are also a threat to traditional banks. Increasing government regulation is also threatening the business models of many banks.

N26 has received a bank license and is now much more than a new FinTech hype startup. It has shown the banks how easy an account can be and how modern it can be. Despite massive security gaps, the startup is growing inexorably.

So the danger also comes from startups. Here’s what T3Nsays: Other startups should be motivated by this to apply for a banking license and thus to break away from the established players. Even if not every fintech will receive a banking license – the requirements for this are still high, the effort is great – it is still clear that the disruption is slowly moving. Banks, be careful. Now even more so.

Agile Banking – how?

But how can established companies produce these innovations? Christoph Schmiedinger says in Boris Gloger’s blog:VThe ideas that start-ups use to be more flexible can actually be easily applied in large companies – we are writing 2016 after all. Methods such as design thinking and rapid prototyping are now widely used and should be part of the repertoire of every product development department.

Another success factor is digital transformation. As the blog of GFTsays: Financial institutions obviously need an appropriate technological basis for their journey into digital transformation: agile development methodologies, continuous integration, and DevOps. In short, they need systems that are able to process information in real time so that the right decisions can be made for the right customer in the right time frame. But they also need a new culture to deal with their customers: a completely revised approach to the role of bank branches in prioritizing the experience of use.

Conclusion: The agile bank is coming

In summary, it turns out that due to low interest rates, new customer wishes, startups and government regulations, the banks are facing a change. However, this is to be accomplished through agile methods,lean startup, design thinking and the targeted use of technology. The aim must be to create more speed on the one hand and, on the other hand, to adapt to the new framework conditions.

agile bank
Drivers, methods and desired effects for an agile bank (own representation)

Agile banking is already and an issue and the agile bank is coming. Christoph Schmiedinger is also sure of this and writes: I think the journey to a more agile bank is worth it. With the help of agile values and methods such as Scrum and Kanban, many of the expected benefits can be achieved with proper use – in particular proximity to the customer, shorter time-to-market and more flexible release planning. GFT’s blog also mentions a “cultural change that extends to also changing the vision and mission of banks” to serve 21st century customers. So these far-reaching changes call for a more agile bank.

Currently you can find numerous digital labs and established banks definitely do not look easy. ING Diba and Co. have also been finding great banking products and new innovative pilot projects for some time. So it remains exciting to see how agile banking prevails and how the question between security awareness and constant testing can be solved. Read for more of my article on agile finance. Have you moved to or at an established bank?

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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