At the end of 2015, an article on the future of banking from thenextweb.com posed the question “So, what will the bank of the future look like?” and answered it with an emphatic and unambiguous,
“It will either cease to exist or will become an IT company.”
Depending on your perspective this can be a dire warning or an exciting vision about digitization. Regardless, the evidence of the imperative need for banking and financial services companies to digitize is blatantly obvious. Already the list of “internet giants” like Apple, Facebook, Alphabet (Google) and Alibaba are moving rapidly into the payments space. Financial technology start-ups (Fintech for those familiar with the industry) and Shadow Banks are also eroding both the customer base and the margins of what was once the exclusive domain of the banks. It’s not a question of why or when to transform, it’s a question of how to get there and how quickly.
Indeed, these changes are happening already and at an ever increasing pace. From the bystander’s perspective the obvious signs of this digital evolution tend to focus on customer facing innovations like apps for smart phones, smarter ATM technology and new financial services delivered through the cloud. But behind the scenes, an equally important and foundational element of change that will enable a bank or insurance company to become more ‘internet-giant-like’ is in the modernization and digitization of the physical infrastructure. This physical infrastructure underpins the IT technologies that will deliver new products and services. Big data centers and smaller IT edge network infrastructure can no longer be monolithic and static but instead must become a dynamic ecosystem that is scalable on-demand while, at the same time, faster and cheaper to deploy, easier to operate and maintain, and impervious to everything from power disruptions to cyber attacks. It’s an epic shift that some in the industry have called an “Uber moment” and others have encouraged us to consider the bank of the future “more Google than Gringotts”.
Schneider Electric Leads the Digital Banking Change
As the industry evolves at Schneider Electric we are also evolving to help lead the change. Prefabricated data center modules and architectures facilitate rapid and flexible expansion balanced with repeatable and predictable operation. Our data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software provides the management insight and decision support to achieve the right balance of change management, uptime and efficiency and industry analysts agree that we’re a market leader in this space. We’re working with the Open Compute foundation and building Open Rack architectures. Our free, online Energy and Data Center University allows people and companies the world over to tailor targeted learning paths, including energy and data center topics and certifications. And, we’re constantly evolving our portfolio of professional services to meet the challenges our banking and finance customers are facing through out the life cycle changes from traditional to digital. Installed equipment tracking and risk assessments, strategic energy and sustainability consulting, data center infrastructure management services, even automation system cyber security assessments and secure system implementations are just some of the services we’ve introduced recently to help ease the burdens of change and to make good on our commitments to partner with our customers’ success.
These digital foundations and the internet of things (IoT) are in our DNA, and we’re excited by the opportunities that the shifts in the banking and finance industry are creating which demand that we evolve to adapt and support. We accept the challenge.