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in par ticula r. Bank s need to create branches that provide an advanced digital experience combined with convenient locations, while also developing an online digital experience that can compete head on with the tech giants.” It’s not only the tech giants, but others in banking. “The large institutions are taking lessons from the fintechs and applying them to their systems. Community banks that don’t recognize this, at some point, they risk becoming irrelevant,” says CS Consulting Group’s Cady. Fifth Third’s Carmichael makes this clear in his essay, writing: “The majority of financial services innovation will likely continue to happen outside of banks, as it has in the past few years. However, I believe that the majority of value creation will happen within banks, as banks will continue to serve customers. This complementary relationship creates a win-win-win for the banks, for fintechs, and more importantly, for our customers. At Fifth Third, we have a holistic ‘build-partner-buy’ strategy on financial technology.” Miller’s bank, Fresno First, recognizes this sit uation. With the ag ile banking approach, he points out, “We can pretty much do 95% of the stuff the big banks do, and there’s really not much of a cost hindrance.”



February/March 2017

Process improvement is not a ‘one-off.’ It’s a living, breathing part of business Iteration is key

One word comes up time and again when talking about agile banking: “Iteration.” “The idea of iteration is that things change too quickly,” says Cornerstone Advisors’ Williams. “Organizations slow themselves down too easily. Instead of shooting from A to Z, you have to first build A and then build B and go on that way as you learn. There also is that continuous feedback loop that makes you build something more accurate because you’re learning and updating each time.” Put another, more conceptual way, consultant Nicols says: “[Iteration] is a course correction, but it’s also a faster course correction. If you sail a ship and you are one degree off course, solving that in the first half hour isn’t a big deal; solving it 12 hours into your cruise, now you’re hundreds of miles off of where you are supposed to be. So the important part is making little course corrections regularly, not at the end of the project.”

Nicols adds: “There is an element in agile called a ‘sprint’ when you have a short one- or two-week process to get something done or create a specific feature. The real purpose of a sprint not only is to move quickly, but to move incrementally and iteratively. Each iteration should be better than the last.” In other words, make quick and constant tweaks not only to stay on track, but to improve the track even as circumstances and the environment change. “The minute you find something sliding, you have to go after it and be very aggressive about it,” Fresno First’s Miller says. “So it’s a constant process. Process improvement is not a ‘one-off.’ It’s an evolving thing, a living, breathing part of business. Once you start, you have to stay committed.” In a like vein, Columbia Bank’s Pratico points out: “Once something rolls out, that’s not the end. We are going through this iterative process where we are constantly ref ining the tool to

Profile for Banking Exchange

February/March 2017 Banking Exchange  

February/March 2017 Banking Exchange