In February, Commerzbank announced plans to invest €1.7bn in the bank’s IT services and infrastructure over the next three years. On the face of it, this seems a sensible if not laudable approach—after all, most banks are at some stage of digitisation. But as Teo , Blidarus, Founder and CEO at FintechOS tells Douglas Blakey, approaching digitisation as a standalone process with a start, middle and end is fundamentally flawed. And, says Blidarus, it is the reason why $900bn of the $1.3trn banks spent on digital transformation in 2018 went to waste.

The key reasons that digital transformation projects fail:

  1. Lack of alignment between top-level management and teams deploying new capabilities;
  2. An inability to change organisational capabilities and hire talent to sustain continuous development beyond innovation labs. This results in low-impact “innovation dollies” that doesn’t embed innovation;
  3. Myopic focus on “products” rather than customer journeys resulting in fragmented and siloed approach, and
  4. Lack of understanding from the banks on customer needs and what’s best value in meeting them

Blidarus adds: “The crucial word here is “continuous”. Digitisation isn’t a tick box exercise. It isn’t something that stands alone. It is a state. You are either digital or you are not. And the reason DT programmes fail is they are too complex, too expensive and take too long. What’s a better approach?”

In this interview, Blidarus goes on to discuss why not achieving digital transformation is a good thing for banks And he stresses the importance of seeing digitalisation as a state rather than an end-goal. In addition, he explains why the pandemic destroys complacency and offers an opportunity to change approach as well as discussing how to drive continuous change through augmenting legacy technology.

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