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Both technological innovation and digital transformation became a necessity during the pandemic but it was up to banks to adapt as quickly as possible.

How is the retail sector embracing digital innovation without neglecting traditional channels?

It is important to state that digital innovation should not affect channel components – that is akin to the proverbial “lipstick on a pig”. Rather, digital innovation should be about using technology and applications to improve existing business process, improve workforce efficiency, enhance customer experiences and expand business products and models. Essentially, digital innovation should improve traditional channels while also facilitating growth in new customer engagement models.

Are digital banking platforms moving to the cloud? What else needs to be done to fully implement cloud computing?

A number of banks are busy, or have moved, to private cloud. Some have moved to public cloud and some of those are looking into serverless technologies. There are two main strategies at play – either move the core processing engine to adopt the latest infrastructure technologies and to take advantage of the elasticity of cloud, or move to a core-less architectures and micro services; it depends on the banks appetite for change. For me, the most important aspect of moving to cloud, that is fundamental to a successful implementation, is a common understanding, buy-in throughout the organisation and the mind-set required to appreciate the benefits.

What were the roles of technological innovation and digital transformation during the pandemic?

Interesting question and I think they both became a necessity. I believe a lot of banks adopted innovative technologies to support collaboration and remote working for their staff. However, the question itself is not possible for me to answer in its entirety, so I will leave you with a few anecdotes to consider…
I saw a meme during the early stages of the pandemic; it posed the question: “Which pushed your digital agenda? Your CIO, your CTO or COVID?”.
During a recent round-table, when asked how the pandemic had affected their organisation, one leader responded with: “It pushed us forward by 5 years”.
Finally, to quote a previous leader I had the privilege of working for: “Never waste a good crisis”!

Craig Hughes is a specialist in API and web technologies employed by Danske Bank as Chief Enterprise Architect, with a strong focus on APIs (internal and Open Banking). Currently he is responsible for breaking the core banking systems into business domains; using these as the building blocks to create reusable business process via APIs. Employing an evolutionary architecture to move ahead strategically, while still supporting the day-to-day operations and growth of the business.


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